Family, Self

Bravo! NFL Finally Does Right By Women, But There’s More To Do

Abusive Relationships: The NFL's Domestic Violence Policy

On August 28th, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL admitted he made a mistake when it involved the handling of the recent domestic violence case, even though he didn't directly use Ray Rice's name. As a relationship coach and an NFL fan, I applaud them for finally taking a stand and letting the players know that domestic violence against women is a serious issue and will be dealt with seriously. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and 1.3 million women are of physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year. Unfortunately, Mr. Goodell, a six-game penalty for a first offense and at least a year for a second is not enough. There is more that could be done in lieu of a six game suspension to support those victims and agencies that are doing great work to eliminate this issue that plagues our society.

Here are some suggestions that will help show the nation who loves the NFL brand that you are serious. Remember it's not just about affecting the livelihood of the perpetrator; it's also about changing their behavior.

  1. The Offender Must Particpate In A Public Service Announcement: There are a lot of issues he could inform the country about. For instance, according to the National Coalition Against Victims Of Domestic Violence, victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence
  2. He Must Volunteer At A Domestic Violence Agency: There are shelters and agencies in each NFL city that desparately need volunteers in order to make sure the work gets done. From administrative work, organizing and picking up supplies, to fundraising, they will get a better sense of all the work that goes into helping the people and organizations that have dedicated their lives to this work.
  3. All Rookies Must Participate In A Domestic Violence Prevention Program: Punishing the player responsible is reactive and nature and will not help the victim once the damage has been done, but shifting the consciousness of the entire league will. As so eloquently stated in JBWS's (Jersey Battered Women's Service) vision, in order to prevent domestic violence, you have to create a community-wide culture that refuses to tolerate the presence of any form of family or partner violence. To do so will require a shift in the cultural norms that have historically viewed family violence as a private matter, while excusing the batterer and blaming the victim. Education is the first step toward a cultural shift in our norms. A knowledgeable, skilled and sensitive community will be better able to promote healthy relationships, recognize the early warning signs of domestic and dating violence, and more readily access services.

Mr. Goodell, these additions to your policy will show the NFL players, coaches and fans that you really made a mistake and you are trying to do something about it. 

Keith Dent is a premiere life coach when it comes to empowering couples to have better relationships. If you are interested in receiving a free 45 minute consultation or your interested in signing up for his newsletter, contact him at