In recent events, domestic violence has plagued the NFL involving allegations aginast players from Dez Bryant and Johnathan Dwyer to Adrian Peterson and the most talked about player of the season, Ray Rice. The NFL is usually tight-lipped on these situations until footage was released in February 2014 of Baltimore Ravens Running Back, Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancé, Janay Palmer in an elevator inside the Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Due to pressure and scrutiny from the public, the NFL immediately suspended Rice indefinitely from the league. He would later be exonerated from suspension and allowed back into the league.
Since this incident occurred, several more allegations of domestic violence involving NFL players came to light in the following months and now the NFL will FINALLY issue a response… in the form of a 60 second ad.
Click to watch the video BELOW:
The NFL partnered up with NoMore.org to release this ad during the first quarter of the 2015 Super Bowl. In the ad, a female domestic violence victim is heard pretending to order a pizza while alerting a 911 dispatcher to send the police to her address. While we cannot see the woman, visuals of holes in the walls and objects on the floor show obvious signs of a struggle. The ad was inspired by an actual 911 call made around 10 years ago when a woman used this same method to getting police to her rescue without alerting her attacker.
While the video is powerful enough to give you chills, many people question the NFL’s agenda behind this ad, wondering if this was a LATE way of covering themselves from the public scrutiny of how they’ve handled domestic violence incidents in the past. In the past, it seems the maximum punishment for sending your wife to the ER is a one game suspension. Though the NFL has a personal conduct policy that players are expected to uphold both on and off the field, they fall short in enforcing appropriate punishment, with many players who were charged with domestic violence still actively playing in the league.
The NFL also falls short in protecting the wives and girlfriends of the players accused of abuse, allegedly encouraging a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Get Caught” culture towards these situations, which leads people to ask are NFL wives and girlfriends SET UP to be abused?
When players are drafted, women uproot their lives and the lives of their families to move to whichever state their player boo has been assigned to, leaving them completely financially dependent on the players. The move also separates them from their family and friends (their support system) back home. Their only friends become the wives and girlfriends of their new assigned team who allegedly also promote them to keep quiet about domestic violence issues. Add public humiliation and victim shaming from fans of the league and that will scare any woman into silence.
The NFL’s attempt to resonate with the victims of domestic violence is underwhelming at best and well over due. Had this ad been released months sooner, along with the NFL actually punishing players for breaking the personal conduct policy, the ad would have fit perfectly with the league’s stand on violence against women. However, because the league has a repeated history of sweeping this issue under the rug, leaving the victims without a voice, this ad reaps of hypocrisy.