In response to the National Football League's (NFL) recently released revamped Personal Conduct Policy for players and other employees that was ratified unanimously by 32 league owners, Melanie L. Campbell, convener of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's Black Women's Roundtable (BWR), issued the following statement:
"The Black Women's Roundtable is optimistic about the progress the NFL has made in their continued efforts to put tougher personal conduct policies in place and also create programs designed to change the culture of violence in the league and beyond. By including a diverse group of individuals and organizations with expertise in domestic violence and sexual assault, the NFL is headed in the right direction.
"BWR provided recommendations to the NFL on culturally-competent best practices to eradicating domestic violence and sexual assault during meetings with NFL executives held at their New York headquarters. Some of our initial concerns, including the urgent need for the NFL to include Black women on their external advisory group for domestic violence and sexual assault, were addressed after our initial meeting with NFL executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, NFL's new vice president of social responsibility, Anna Isaacson, and other NFL executives.The NFL subsequently appointed Dr. Beth Richie, professor of African American studies, criminology, law, and justice, and Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Policy at the University of Illinois, to the NFL's external advisory group on domestic violence and sexual assault. Dr. Richie's education and experience sent a message that the NFL was serious about seeking serious solutions.
"BWR also provided a list of individuals and community-based organizations with expertise in culturally-specific service delivery, policy and program development that we recommend the NFL consider engaging, particularly related to the African-American community to the NFL at our meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"In addition to overhauling their Personal Conduct Policy, the NFL is deploying education and training on domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault which is mandatory for all league and club personnel, including owners, coaches, and executives. They are also providing individual and family support and are supporting programs that focus on character development, healthy relationship education, as well as dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault for players, and coaches in college, high school, and youth football.
"BWR looks forward to continuing to advise and engage the NFL as they move in a positive path to getting it right by changing the culture of violence and abuse within the organization and addressing issues of diversity and inclusion throughout the NFL."