Advocates and Legislators Say NFL Corrections Go Wide But Not Deep Enough
Women's rights activists and anti-violence advocates are continuing to put pressure on the National Football League (NFL), calling for a more inclusive and robust institutional response to domestic violence and sexual assault as well as an independent investigation into the League.
Goodell has also called on FBI Director Robert Mueller to conduct an "independent" investigation of the League's process in reviewing Ray Rice's conduct. "I promise you that any shortcomings he finds in how we dealt with the situation will lead to swift action," Goodell said. The Commissioner maintained the League is taking these issues seriously, even announcing a new long-term partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
O'Neill also called for a broader investigation into the League, not one focused solely on Ray Rice. "Glaringly absent from Mr. Goodell's remarks is a commitment to conduct an independent investigation into all of the incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on his watch," said O'Neill. "Such an investigation would, at minimum, ask how many victims reached out to NFL leadership for help over the years? What was the response? What services did the victims request? Did they receive them? If not, why not? Were the victims satisfied? What steps does the NFL take, as part of its response protocol, to keep the victims safe? What are its metrics of success - how does it measure whether the victim is safe? What about the victim's economic security? What measures does the NFL take to ensure the victim's economic security?"
At a press conference during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference last week, Karma Cottman, the Executive Director of the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and a Roundtable member, stressed that the group isn't simply calling for women of color representation among the NFL's advisory board for the sake of inclusion, but because of the knowledge gap a more diverse group would fill. "The NFL's advisory team must include Black women with a demonstrated expertise in the development and implementation of culturally specific services, policies, and programs addressing domestic violence and sexual assault in the Black community," Cottman said.
Meanwhile, the NFL has gotten the attention of Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) who introduced legislation to create $100 million in funding for domestic violence prevention programs - paid for by closing a tax loophole used by the NFL and other professional sports leagues. According to the senator's office, there are 10 professional sports leagues that enjoy tax-exempt status, including the National Football League, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and US Tennis Association. Many have held this nonprofit status since the 1960s.
Media Resources:¬†Boston Globe 9/25/14; Black Women's Roundtable 9/24/14; National Organization for Women 9/19/14, 9/11/14, 9/9/14; National Football League 9/19/14, 9/15/14; Feminist Newswire 9/18/14; Feminist Majority Foundation Blog 9/17/14;¬†Senator Cory Booker 9/16/14; NBC Sports 9/14/14; Library of Congress