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NNEDV Urges NFL Commissioner Goodell to Deliver on His Pledge to “Get it Right”

September 19, 2014

September 19, 2014 – In a press conference today, Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the need for the NFL to “get it right” and work to shift how society responds to domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. In response to media inquiries about the National Football League’s (NFL’s) plans to do this, Commissioner Goodell announced that NFL funds will be donated to the National Domestic Violence Hotline to aid in responding to the increased call volume.

These funds are unquestionably needed, and will assist the Hotline in answering the more than 80% surge in calls from victims. Just as calls to the National Hotline are up by 84% since the Ray Rice story broke, local and state domestic violence hotlines, which receive pass-through calls from the National Hotline and respond to the majority of calls from victims, have seen similar increases.

Answering more calls from victims also means that more people are being referred to local shelters and programs for services – the same programs that have been hard-hit by budget cuts and do not have the resources to absorb more victims in need of help. On a single day in 2013, nearly 10,000 requests for domestic violence services were turned away due to a lack of resources.

Funds for the National Domestic Violence Hotline will make a real difference in the number of calls that they are able to field; however, the small amount of funds provided to local and state sexual assault hotlines, while greatly appreciated, will likely average less than $500 per local program – less than your average bake sale.

In light of this, NNEDV urges the NFL and Commissioner Goodell to deliver on his pledge to “get it right.” Put a meaningful amount of resources toward ending domestic and sexual violence in every community where the NFL has a presence. Work with each state domestic and sexual violence coalition to coordinate these efforts and the response of each NFL team. Empower all of the local domestic violence programs in each team’s area, not just a single program.

NNEDV appreciates this early funding and invites the NFL to make a game-changing commitment to ending domestic and sexual violence in this country. The NFL and the Commissioner are capable of making substantial contributions toward supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence, with teams splitting $6 billion in revenue in 2013 and Commissioner Goodell earning $44 million last year alone. Even more than that, they have significant cultural clout and can influence and change the way our society views and responds to intimate partner violence.

More can and should be done.