HOUSTON — St. Louis Rams receiver Donnie Avery yesterday spoke out against the ills of domestic violence, but stopped short of making a true condemnation of the horrendous act that many believe is all-too pervasive in communities of concentrated disadvantage.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s a terrible thing. Been in the news a bunch since the Rihanna stuff came out,” Houston native Avery said. “It’s something I try to speak out against.”

He said domestic abuse is a phenomenon that affects people of all backgrounds, but crops up especially in economically distressed areas.

“Unfortunately you’d see it all the time around here growing up. It’s something I wish wasn’t part of the community, but it’s a sad fact of life. Luckily it’s not something I experienced in my home, but if I know it’s going on, I’m gonna put a stop to it.”

When asked by a reporter how he would do so, Avery replied that he would call the police.

Asked what if it were a situation in which the police could not arrive fast enough to resolve the problem, he said, “I might try to intervene myself.”

When pressed about a scenario in which he tried to intervene, but the attacker was armed and he was not, Avery answered, “Look, man, what does this have to do with me? I’ve never done that stuff.”

A review of Avery’s criminal records reveals that he has not yet been arrested on any assault charges. Nor, however, does it indicate that he has put a stop to any domestic assaults that were in progress. Criminology experts say that could be just as bad.

The receiver registered 53 receptions for 674 yards and caught three scores in 2008, his first in the NFL, though his achievements clearly didn’t give him the confidence needed to take a stand on demonstrably abhorrent behavior. Calls made to the Rams’ front office inquiring as to why they’d keep so craven a coward on their roster were not returned.

Woken up at his residence at 3:18 a.m. after a reporter jimmied the lock to his back porch, thus gaining access to his six-bedroom home, Avery wiped his eyes and made a threatening gesture, but provided no further comment.