In light of the recent heat it has been receiving as a result of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson scandals, the NFL just announced that it has formed a new social responsibility team aimed at combatting domestic violence. The team, headed by one of the NFL’s own will help shape the NFL’s future policies on domestic violence and sexual assault. Let’s meet the ladies, shall we:
Anna Isaacson (top left)
Having been with the League since 2006, Anna Isaacson is the NFL’s Vice President of Community Affairs and Philanthropy. She is responsible for helping to launch Play 60 and played a key role in the development of Crucial Catch, the NFL’s breast cancer awareness initiative. Isaacson, a graduate of Barnard College, is also the co-chair of the League’s Diversity Council. She well head the league and take guidance from the other three ladies.
Lisa Friel (top right)
Lisa Friel is the former head of sex crimes prosecution in New York City. After spending 28 years as a prosecutor Friel joined the private investigative firm, T&M Protection Services, where she has been involved in investigating allegations of sexual assault on college campuses. The graduate of the University of Virginia’s School of Law, Friel will also be responsible for looking into the League’s individual allegations of domestic and sexual violence and advising Roger Goodell and his staff on disciplinary actions.
Jane Randel (bottom left)
Jane Randel is the former Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Brand Services for the former Liz Claiborne Inc. She is also the co-founder of NO MORE, an organization dedicated to bringing broad awareness and action to domestic violence and sexual assault. Randel has published works on the topic of domestic violence including one titled “Coming into the Light: Intimate Partner Violence and its Effects at Work.”
Rita Smith (bottom right)
Rita Smith is the former Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the former Director of Women in Crisis. Smith is a graduate of Michigan State University and Polk State College. She has done extensive work with battered women and children who live in shelters.
I think that Goodell has done a fine job of compiling a team with an extensive background in issues involving domestic and sexual violence. Their combined resumes suggest that they will be able to advise the League by pulling from a plethora of knowledge as it relates to those issues while keeping the League and the greater community in mind. I think that all four ladies have shown and will continue to show a passion of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and will likely only be able to improve upon the NFL’s current system for dealing with these issues.
While my overall feeling is an extremely positive one, one nagging concern is the seeming lack of diversity within the group. I know, I know, some may say, “Why can’t you be satisfied? Goodell picked four stellar women to focus on issues that most frequently affect women and children?!” I get it. But I can’t help but wonder if a man or at least one person of color were selected what kind of difference it could make. Very often the face of domestic violence in this country is that of a white woman, but domestic and sexual violence has both male and female victims and victims of every race. Perhaps diversifying the group could provide unique perspectives on how these issues touch everyone and better inform the League on best practices going forward.
Overall, this new group without a doubt is a step in the right direction for the NFL and hopefully for other professional leagues that may have similar issues. I think the group has the opportunity to help the NFL make a powerful stand for the victims of domestic and sexual violence and has the potential to encourage more women to become involved in fighting these issues and getting involved with sports. That’s what it like to call a win-win.