NFL rolls out domestic violence awareness campaign for high schoolers
The National Football League has kicked off an outreach program about domestic violence awareness directed at high school students. The first major event surrounding the program took place in Orlando in early December and involved high school sports coaches. The goal is to foster a spirit of social responsibility surrounding domestic abuse that starts with conversations with the high schoolers but is cultivated by adult role models, like coaches. The program appears to have two goals: identifying domestic violence that may already exist in the homes of these athletes and preventing it from happening in their own homes as adults.
To coincide with the programs, the NFL has released a 17-minute video with a message against domestic violence. Coaches from the NFL and from college teams encourage coaches and students to start a dialogue about domestic violence that identifies it and talks about how to keep it from happening. This latest public service program rolled out by the NFL is meant to address accusations that the league has not been especially outspoken against domestic violence in the past. Rumors of NFL players who abused wives, girlfriends and children have swirled for years but it all came to the forefront when that now-infamous video of Ray Rice punching wife Janae in an elevator circulated.
So is this latest endeavor just a public relations move on the part of the NFL? Probably. But that doesn’t negate the fact that it could still do a lot of good, making use of the strong influence of the coach-player mentorship that takes place in high school sports. If nothing else, it sets the stage for a broader conversation about domestic violence and how to prevent it.