In a memo sent Thursday night from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to all NFL chief executives and team presidents, the league's top executive outlined efforts taken against domestic violence and sexual assault.
The memo includes notes on Goodell and other NFL staffers spending time with the National Domestic Violence Hotline in Texas, meeting with retired players in recent weeks (which includes former Ravens kicker Matt Stover), hiring Dr. Beth E. Richie as a new senior advisor and other initiatives.
Here is the entire memo, obtained by The Baltimore Sun:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.nomore.org compared to the prior weekend. 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.