Ex-wife of former Bengals player speaks out; says she felt trapped in abusive relationship

Ex-wife of former Bengals player speaks out; says she felt trapped in abusive relationship

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A former Bengals' past was brought back to life in a New York Times article posted Monday about the victims of domestic abuse within the NFL 'family.'

Mercedes Sands, ex-wife of former Bengals safety Robert Sands, spoke to The Times about an abusive relationship she felt trapped in. She spoke alongside Brandie Underwood, the ex-wife of former Green Bay Packers player Brandon Underwood and they both said they felt they couldn't speak up because of the close-knit culture of the NFL. Underwood also previously played football at University of Cincinnati.

"It was better to endure indignities like infidelity, other wives told them, and to keep quiet even if the hostility in their marriages seemed unbearable than to cause a ruckus that could upend the success and harmony of the team," the article reads.

But in January of 2012, Sands drove her car into a neighbor's house as she was trying to flee from her husband.

That's when the NFL stepped in and actually offered encouragement.

"They made it seem like we are a family," Sands told the New York Times. "Anything you need, you come to us. We are here to help you."

So she didn't call 911. If the pair was fighting, Sands would call the Bengals' relations coordinator, who always picked up the phone, the article says.

Everything was fine for a while and Sands felt like she had unwavering support from the team. That is, until she called the police in January 2013 after she says her husband choked and assaulted her.

"No one was there," she told The Times. "The wives weren't there. No one answered my phone calls."

Robert Sands denies the allegations. And the Bengals issued a statement saying, "neither the club nor Coach Lewis advised the Sandses not to talk to law enforcement; instead the club encouraged them to work on their problems and to utilize counseling to improve their relationship."

Sands was originally charged for the alleged assault but, according to the New York Times, the charges were dropped when he agreed to do counseling.

Read the entire New York Times article here.

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.