“I will reserve judgment until five years go past.” Former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe is going to wait to decide on the effectiveness of the NFL’s latest efforts to combat a scourge of domestic violence incidents among its ranks. Kluwe made the comment when asked about a new ad set to appear before an estimated 100 million Americans on Super Bowl Sunday. The clip, part of the NFL’s partnership with the group No More, features a series of shots from inside an empty home shown as viewers hear a woman speak to a 911 operator. The woman is heard ordering a pizza, which the 911 operator quickly realizes is her way of saying she needs help but cannot say more with her possible assailant within earshot. The ad ends with the text, “When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen.” The clip is generating a great deal of buzz online, but it’s raised an important question: Is the NFL really listening enough? While delivering this powerful ad to viewers, is the NFL really doing enough to combat the epidemic of domestic violence carried out by many of its players? Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga tackled that subject with Kluwe; Anne Glauber, one of No More’s founders; and Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports.
Glauber said the ad was produced entirely by the NFL for No More. “It really delivers our message, which is domestic violence and sexual assault is happening around us all the time, every day, unseen and often unheard.” No More, founded in 2009, is an anti-domestic violence advocacy group. The NFL partnered with No More to produce a series of public service announcements. Broadcast during a game, a PSA reaches approximately 16.6 million people per airing.
But former Minnesota Viking Kluwe, while agreeing that the new ad is very effective, criticized the NFL for taking so long to look at the issue. “Hopefully the NFL is actually looking at this like ‘We want to make a legit change’ and not as ‘We have a bad PR moment and we need to gloss this over until people forget about it.’” After video surfaced of NFL star Ray Rice hitting his then fiancée, and the arrest of former Vikings MVP Adrian Peterson on charges he abused his young son, the Associated Press called the league’s domestic violence problem the biggest sports story of 2014.
[RELATED: To check out Yahoo Sports coverage of the NFL and Superbowl XLIX click here]
Yahoo Sports' Eric Adelson added that the subject of domestic violence was almost nonexistent among the media throng covering Sunday’s big game. He said the fact that the subject was not broached with players shows that the league may still have a problem on its hands. Both he and Kluwe said the league and reporters would rather discuss topics like deflate-gate than delve into the sometimes difficult but always important topic of domestic violence. Adelson said, “It’s disappointing because deflate-gate, it’s a victimless crime. It doesn’t really affect people, whereas domestic violence affects our entire society, and we had a huge platform to talk about this and No More is talking about it, we’re talking about it. But it’s still very hard for players to talk about it, for the media to bring up, and in that way I feel an opportunity was missed.”
Adelson went on to say, “On these big sport nights, that’s often when the violence happens in homes ... the fact that this ad is going on when potentially there is going to be violence in these homes during or after the game ... I think the timing of this ad can’t be understated.”
Watch full interview below: