On Sunday, February 1, Americans will spend millions of dollars and valuable time glued to television screens across the country to view the events at one of the nation’s cathedrals for athletes and sporting events; the Superbowl. The tradition of Superbowl Sunday takes control of all things commercial.
And then there are the commercials. Known as THE showcase for advertisers, the amount of money paid for the time segments of space during the game is matched only by the obscenity of the amount of money flowing to the teams that play the game.
But this year is different. We are coming out of a year of tremendous missteps by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his administration in the handling of players involved in domestic abuse, rape and child abuse cases. After clearly demonstrating that they didn’t have a clue (and were not interested in buying one) in regards to why the public outrage even existed, Goodell and the NFL spent the rest of the year shaping their reactionary policy going forward based on business decisions, not on social justice or any understanding of the fundamental problems of domestic violence, rape and child abuse.
The NFL is now being touted as leading the way by donating the time to run a breakthrough PSA advertisement during the Superbowl that addresses domestic violence. Critics are proclaiming a victory for women’s rights. The NFL’s donation of space for the PSA is valued at $3 million, according to a memo from Roger Goodell. The group NoMore is the organization which created the advertisement.
We like the fact that millions of viewers will be shown this advertisement during the Superbowl. We like the work NoMore is doing to raise awareness of an issue that is far too prevalent in our society. We remind you that violence against women is not an American issue; it is a global crisis.
But when it comes to the NFL, we call foul. We see this as a way of washing their hands of the public’s criticism of their handling of the domestic violence question. When one considers the vast amounts of money that flows through the NFL, do you really think all is equalled with a donated $3 million time slot during the Superbowl? Don’t you agree with us, that if the NFL wanted to ACTUALLY make a difference, they would ALSO donate at least 1% of the total amount of money brought in to organizations such as NoMore, local women’s shelters and other anti-domestic violence groups? Are we the only ones that see this as a pithy attempt to release the NFL from future liability, dismiss the issue from public comment and shirk any further responsibility from the actions of their players?