NFL, Hollywood stars creating new series of anti-domestic violence PSAs
The NFL and several Hollywood personalities are partnering to create a series of anti-domestic violence PSAs that will air during games beginning later this month, according to USA TODAY.
The PSAs are being filmed in conjunction with actress Mariska Hargitay, known for her role on the television series "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," and her Joyful Heart Foundation, which has been running an anti-domestic violence and sexual assault campaign PSA campaign in partnership with the NO MORE Project.
The NFL began airing "NO MORE" PSAs, which feature Hollywood stars, last month. The new PSAs will star "dozens" of current and former NFL players. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and linebacker Mark Herzlich and current NFL vice president Troy Vincent have all already participated in filming.
Hargitay is directing PSAs being filmed in New York, while actors Blair Underwood and Tate Donovan are directing PSAs being filmed in California and Texas, respectively.
"This is tangible. This is a monumental step toward change," Hargitay told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview Monday. "If badass NFL heroes are coming forward to talk about these issues, I guarantee you it is going give inspiration and permission to young boys to step up in a new way. Love in a new way, protect in a new way, and to be a man in a new way."
"The vast majority of men aren't violent, the problem is, they are silent about what other men perpetrate," Hargitay said. "That's why this is so insanely powerful. Men are getting off the sidelines and are going to speak up. If sports is the most frequent place where people are talking about this, why not use this opportunity to educate the community?"
The NFL has faced significant criticism over its domestic violence policy in the wake of the case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, as well as those of Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald, among others.
While NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced increased penalties for domestic violence-related offenses after the initial two-game suspension for Rice was deemed too weak, increased criticism seen in the wake of the release of the second Rice video has led Goodell and the league to deliberate how to change the NFL's personal conduct policy further.
It was reported that Goodell is meeting with NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith on Tuesday to discuss the personal conduct policy.
- Ben Estes