When Roger Goodell said he was looking to be “a leader in the domestic violence space” he didn’t give any indication of what it would take to become the Grand Poobah of keeping people safe.
Of course this being corporate speak and the business of businesses, The Shield has released a memo from Lord Rog to the team chief execs and club presidents listing what he has accomplished so far and what he continues to do. And while owners like Robert Kraft are stating publicly Goodell has their full support, generally having to let your bosses know all the great stuff you’ve been up to is the mark of an employee hoping everyone forgets all the mistakes that had happened over the past year before their next 360 review.
Interestingly enough, this is a man justifying his job to one ownership group that said they’re giving $200,000 to help support domestic violence victims support groups this month and another ownership group saying they’re pledging $20,000 to help support domestic violence victims support groups. Maybe Rog should let the Colts know they’re missing a zero in there.
To: Chief Executives
From: Commissioner Goodell
Date: October 2, 2014
Re: Actions in Support of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Efforts
We have continued our work on implementing our commitments to address incidents of
domestic violence and sexual assault, both in the NFL and in our society. This memo will briefly review some of the actions over the past week.
IN OUR SOCIETY. Not just the NFL, society.
First, at the invitation of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a group from our office joined me at The Hotline in Austin, Texas last weekend. We spent almost three hours with the leadership and staff of The Hotline, discussing the needs of the people they serve and issues they face in providing those services. It was a deeply moving experience that underscored the extent to which domestic violence and sexual assault are broad societal problems. You will be pleased to know that the financial support provided by the NFL has already made a real difference in the number of victims/survivors that The Hotline is able to serve. This week, they have reported to us that their staff is able to answer nearly 20 percent more calls, chats and texts than a week ago.
Again with the societal issues and not just the NFL issues. This is larger than The Shield but The Shield is going to be here to save us all! Look, we even have quantitative numbers to show that the NFL has already helped a call center take 20% more calls, only 2% of which came from NFL players family members.
Second, we have continued to meet with groups of retired players, speaking with several dozen over the past few weeks. Those meetings have confirmed that retired players take great pride in their association with the NFL and strongly support the setting and maintenance of high standards of conduct. And we have also sought the perspectives of college football leaders, having met with University of Texas head coach Charlie Strong to discuss his approach to these issues with his college athletes.
These are the same retired NFL players The Shield are battling in court over CTE treatment funds and the league allowed to get away with murder for the past forty years, but that’s beside the point. Pride is on the line.
Going to Charlie “I haven’t met a drug test I didn’t like” Strong shows the type of hard-asses NFL executives love; a strict disciplinarian willing to cut any player at the first sign of trouble, even if that trouble is just showing up to Bio 102 two minutes late. Strong, it’s even in his name. He’ll be coaching the Vikings in no time.
Third, we expanded our group of outside experts by adding Beth E. Richie as a new
senior advisor. Dr. Richie is the director of the Institute of Research on Race and Public Policy and a professor of African American studies, criminology, sociology, gender and women’s
studies, and criminal law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also one of the nation’s leading experts on issues of sexual assault, as well as having considerable experience in domestic violence issues. Our existing group of experts, including Lisa Friel, Peter Harvey, Tony Porter, Jane Randel and Rita Smith, continue to meet with us almost daily to help develop our educational and service programs, and to assist in revising our Personal Conduct Policy.
Nothing executives love more than committees, especially blue ribbon committees with fancy titles and degrees. The smart people are on it and we don’t have to do a damn thing!
Fourth, we met with the heads of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association and the National Football League Players Fathers Association to discuss how they can help us to raise awareness of the family support resources offered by the NFL, by NFL member clubs, and by local community agencies. We also met with Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, the USA CEO of the YWCA, the single largest provider of domestic violence services in the United States. Dr. Richardson offered several thoughtful perspectives on education, counseling, grassroots initiatives and support services for victims and families.
“You NFL Welcome Wagoners aren’t keeping up. You’re supposed to hand out the refrigerator magnets with all of the emergency contact numbers on it AND remind everyone that we keep this type of stuff in the family.”
Fifth, we met with 17 members of the Black Women’s Roundtable, a diverse coalition of advocacy groups. The discussion was candid and wide-ranging, and identified important cultural issues that should be accounted for to make sure that our programs are as effective as possible.
“Pretty much had to take this meeting after they made us look like a bunch of buffoons in the press. Now that we’ve got these broads aboard and appointed some the new people listed above, that PR nightmare has been handled. Boosh!”
Sixth, earlier today we announced the appointment of former federal district judge
Barbara Jones to hear and decide the appeal filed by the NFL Players Association on behalf of
Ray Rice. As required by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, we consulted with the NFLPA
on this appointment and the union agreed to Judge Jones serving in this role.
“Unions, what can you do?”
Finally, we continue to use our network television time to promote awareness of
domestic violence and sexual assault. This week a different version of the PSA produced by NO
MORE will run on our games. NO MORE is a national campaign addressing domestic violence and sexual assault. The use of our institutional time last week resulted in a more than 400 percent increase in web traffic to http://www.nomore.org compared to the prior weekend.
“Founded some old ads, recut them to fit the NFL and slotted them into where the pink boob ads went in years past. As one astute reader said on the weblog ‘Kissing Suzy Kolber’ (in no way a reference to sexual harassment, or so they tell me), the NFL has leadership in the recycling space on lock.”
We are now finalizing plans to air additional PSAs on domestic violence and sexual assault that will begin at the end of this month and run throughout the remainder of the season.
We look forward to discussing these and related matters with you at next week’s league
meeting in New York. If you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to call me or
Deana Garner, Anna Isaacson, Jeff Pash or Troy Vincent.
“My door is open anytime, unless it is closed and then you can bother these other people and talk about me behind my back.”