The same afternoon NBC’s Law & Order: SVU announced it would do a ripped from the headlines episode about sports and domestic violence, NBC’s Today show announced it had landed an exclusive interview with the NFL’s new Social Responsibility Team in which they talk about what a “very very bad idea” it is to toss domestic abusers from the league and the need for “an opportunity for people to have a second chance…/return to playing.” The interview will air tomorrow, accompanied by the debut of a new No More PSA campaign starring former and current NFL players.
In the interview, airing tomorrow, NFL’s senior adviser Lisa Friel tells NBC News’ Peter Alexander that tossing abusers out of the league is a “very, very bad idea because no one will report if that happens,” adding, “I think we need to have an opportunity for people to have a second chance, earn their way back into being on the field and playing.” She said people need to “recognize the early signs” that lead to domestic violence, including “verbal abuse…it starts with pushing and shoving, it starts with throwing things around and breaking objects in a home.”
NFL created its Social Responsibility Team after advertisers began weighing in — and not in a good way — to the growing list of NFL players being accused of various forms of domestic abuse, including using switches on 4-year-olds and clocking fiancees in elevators. Anheuser-Busch, McDonalds, Visa, Procter & Gamble, FedEx, Nike, and Campbell Soup Co., were among the companies that issued stern statements expressing “concern” to the league — and their customers, as the number of news reports about NFL players charged with domestic abuse grew. It became a hot story in the news cycle when TMZ released a casino elevator tape in which Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was seen knocking out his then-girlfriend/now-wife. When the February incident first became public, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had suspended Rice for two games. After TMZ released the video, the Ravens cut Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely, though that did not placate critics, who called it too little too late.