The NFL "Fighting" Domestic Violence Is All Bluff And No Concrete Action
Following the now-infamous Ray Rice incident, the NFL vowed that it would work to change its image and take initiative in domestic violence issues within the sport and beyond. The NFL, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit that makes an estimated $10 billion in nontaxable income per year, has more than enough funds to truly change the lives of those affected by domestic violence. Instead, it's done little more than crisis management for the league in an attempt to fix their image.
The NFL pledged to donate less than one percent of their overall yearly profits to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The $25M it's looking to give the hotline will be donated in a span of five years. No other nonprofit organizations have benefited from the NFL's commitment to end domestic violence. Though they've partnered with the organization NO MORE to release a series of PSAs and even allowed one such spot to run during the Super Bowl — a $4.5M value — it turns out that NO MORE is nothing more than marketing, according to a Deadspin report.
NO MORE describes itself as:
A public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault. Using its signature blue symbol to increase visibility and foster greater dialogue, NO MORE seeks to break social stigma, normalize the conversation around domestic violence and sexual assault, and increase resources to address these urgent issues. NO MORE is aligned with hundreds of organizations working at the local, state and national levels on prevention, advocacy, and services for survivors.
What does that mean for the NFL? Why, access to a high-level marketing consultant whose primary focus is to save their image. NO MORE's domain name is owned by designer brand Kate Spade — that's Fifth & Pacific on their list of executive committee members — and it's Spade's Jane Randel who is now consulting the NFL on their domestic violence issues.
Taking some of the suggestions from former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III's report on the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice incident, the NFL now has a series of committees and investigative counsels intended to better handle any subsequent domestic violence issues. It's updated its personal conduct policy and now require that all NFL employees take part in an hour-long domestic violence presentation. There are better ways that the NFL can spend its time and money.
Rather than subjecting employees to a presentation shorter than a football game, why not get those employees involved with worthwhile organizations like the National Network to End Domestic Violence? The organization is always seeking charter members and cell phones for donation to victims of domestic abuse. The NFL's Play 60 initiative is great for kids but what about extending similar outreach to adolescents struggling with domestic abuse? For that, there's always Break the Cycle, a nonprofit that aims to educate youth through violence reduction programs in school while also offering training programs for a wide variety of organizations.
The list of worthwhile nonprofits are seemingly endless, and the NFL appears to have more than enough capital to truly make a difference in turning the tide of rampant domestic violence within the league. Plus, donating a substantial amount of money or getting players to donate cell phones would certainly make for a far more meaningful PR gesture than a few PSAs that will, like the many Super Bowl ads they were sandwiched between, only fade with time.
Image: Getty Images