//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThe NFL, in its continuing efforts to quell the outrage over its treatment of violent offenses among members of its league, has announced that it has partnered with two organizations — the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
In the past week, according to Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, the domestic violence hotline has received 80 percent more calls, but it doesn’t have the resources to handle all of those calls. In a memo that was sent to the league’s 32 teams, the NFL’s support will provide for 25 full-time advocates in the next five weeks, giving it the ability to take 750 more calls.
In addition, the memo, which the Los Angeles Times got its hands on, says the teams will participate in education sessions and training programs over the next month. And the league is going to beef up its current programs.
Goodell then held a press conference this afternoon at 3pm ET in which he repeated a good chunk of this information. He added that there are experts that will look at player and employee conduct policies “including his role in the process,” and the league will implement new policies. The goal is to have the committee in place by the Super Bowl. Which seems like a really long time to hire people to sit around and talk about an issue that is happening now and requires some urgency, but OK.
Then it was time for Goodell to take questions from the reporters in the room and that’s when the presser devolved into a rambling, mumbling mess. When asked whether he ever considered stepping down from his job, Goodell said he “never considered resigning,” then said something about all the work he has to to do and all the changes they’re going to make.
When asked why there are no women of color among the domestic violence experts that have been brought on board to consult with the league, he said that wasn’t true, then went on about people of color being on staff and working on the changes.
He repeatedly deflected questions about the independent investigation that’s being conducted about the way the recent incidents were handled.
Then TMZ lowered the boom and asked why Goodell or anyone else didn’t take some initiative to get the surveillance video from the elevator. Goodell stands by the league’s efforts, saying they’re going through law enforcement.
“We found that (video) by one phone call. You guys have a whole legal department,” the TMZ reporter said. Ouch.
The fall out from the press conference is pretty huge and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better for Goodell or the league anytime soon. It was announced today (prior to the presser) that Procter & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste brand has pulled out of plans to partner with the league on its on-field breast cancer awareness promotion planned for next month. It hasn’t pulled anything else, but is watching the situation, it says. The company still plans to donate $100,000 to the American Cancer Society.
And Sen. Cory Booker says the league should have its nonprofit status snatched. Wait… the NFL is a nonprofit? The league brought in $9 billion last year. “This common sense update to our tax laws would save more than $100 million over 10 years — money that can instead be used to pay for vital support programs that have seen their funding slashed in recent years due to sequestration and gridlock,” the Senator said in a statement. A number of other politicians agree with him.
Says The Huffington Post:
According to the organization, the league falls under nonprofit status because its administrative office acts as a trade organization, handling responsibilities like overseeing game rules and employing referees — not contributing to profitable efforts by the league’s 32 teams, which pay taxes on tickets, jersey sales and television rights — ABC News reported.
Goodell’s terrible press conference shows that while he sees the league needs to do something — that people are angry and they want to see the NFL respond — he and the league are completely and totally clueless about both what to do and, in a way, why people are so mad in the first place. There’s this palpable sense that they’re being pushed to action grudgingly by fans and sponsors every step of the way.