AP Report: Union Has Issues with NFL’s Domestic Violence Plan

A recent report by the Associated Press indicates that the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has some questions about the proposal that the NFL has put forth as it relates to a new domestic violence plan around the league.

In a memo sent out by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to union members, one of the primary concerns was that the league’s proposal did not address “larger issues of violence in and outside of the home.”

As reported by the AP, this memo also included the following concerns…

— “The NFL’s presentation doesn’t focus on follow-ups and providing continuous resources at the clubs to address potentially violent situations as well as preventing them;

— “Doesn’t include any psychological information about the type behavior that could lead to acts of violence or warning signs of negative behavior, but instead seemed to focus almost entirely on what happens after a violent incident has been committed.

— “Although the league indicated that the trainers for this educational program will be “experts”, they were unable to list any specific names, titles or relevant backgrounds of the people they intend to utilize for the training.

— “Too much reliance was placed on using former players to participate in the training. While some former players possess the right qualifications and experience to train personnel on these issues, the league’s inability to articulate who these players are raises concerns that call into question the effectiveness of the training.

— “The league stated that at each presentation, they will distribute information on suggested local (team city/state specific) resources for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention specialists, licensed club mental health clinicians, club human resource directors and Directors of Player Engagement.

The NFLPA commission members recommended that a broader net of resources be included, such as faith-based counselors and male-focused community organizations, etc. The NFL did not provide any explanation as to why one resource was chosen over another or how those resources would be specifically integrated into the workplace, if at all.”

While Roger Goodell and the league continue to talk about sweeping changes to the domestic violence policy, it seems that they are a bit more narrow in their view of what “sweeping” means than the union itself.

It makes sense that the league would provide NFL teams with resources to handle violent situations, which aren’t necessarily macro in nature. Each situation is different and requires its own response. According to this memo, it appears that the NFL’s plan isn’t providing teams with the necessary resources to combat and prevent a wide array of different domestic violence situations.

In addition to this, the reliance on former players to provide training makes little sense. While some may very well be qualified to deal with this larger societal issue, there are potentially better options out there to provide training to personnel around the league.

If we expected a quick resolution to the league’s domestic violence overhaul, this memo pretty much guarantees that’s not going to happen. Instead, it is more important that the two sides come together to create both a comprehensive and long-standing overhaul of the policies that have failed in the past.

So in reality, the concerns that Smith points out may very well be good for the long-term health of the NFL’s domestic violence policy.

Photo: USA Today