The NFL has yet to come up with a real solution for its off-field domestic violence issues and many fans still hold league commissioner Roger Goodell in contempt of the court of incompetence.
In a new maneuver, the league is sending out instructional videos for high school and college coaches to be aware of the signs for woman beaters on their team before they make it to the pros.
The NFL sent a 17-minute video Wednesday to high school and college coaches nationwide to encourage them to be aware of and act against domestic violence and abuse.
Entitled “NFL Call To Coaches — Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness,” the video includes strong messages from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin; NFL football operations executive Troy Vincent; Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin; former player and coach Joe Ehrmann; and Mike Rowe, the coach at Rocori High School in Minnesota.
“We recognize the incredible influence coaches can have on their players and how football can be used as an educational tool to affect change,” Deana Garner, the NFL’s director of player engagement and education, said. “To truly change a culture and behavior, and instill a personal accountability in living a life of character, you need to affect people when they are young.”
The video is being distributed to high school football coaches by USA Football, the national governing body for the sport; the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), who will distribute it to high schools and coaches of a variety of sports; the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) to its network of coaches; and the High School Player Development program (HSPD) to its network of high school coaches.
Rowe’s portion of the video is most powerful. The coach at the Cold Springs, Minnesota, school regularly engages in conversations with his players about character building and life skills.
He leads his players through an exercise in which they take turns reading actual police reports of incidents of domestic violence or sexual assault. As the reality of these scenarios sinks in, each player takes a pledge that: “This will not be me.”
“I am a football coach, but I am an educator first,” Rowe said. “You have an opportunity for the three to four hours of a day you have with a kid to make a difference.
“All those things, those situations, happen all the time in our society. You have to understand we have to respect all women, it starts with you. You can control the hallways, you can control what happens at a party or a dance.
“Your honor defines you as a man … your virtue defines you as a man … and your dignity defines you as a man.”
Because spotting NFL domestic violence offenders in their own locker is just completely out of the question.
Photo: Judy Eddy/WENN