Since 2009, the NFL has partnered with the American Cancer Society to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. Players have worn pink gloves, socks, shoes and more on the field to gain traction for the league's campaign. But with all of the off-the-field NFL issues that have made headlines in the past few weeks, my question is this: How did the league miss the huge opportunity to honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month, too?
Throughout the six years the NFL has run its breast-cancer awareness campaign, it's seen a rise in its then-steady growing female fan base. I'm sure, in the wake of the allegations surrounding the Ray Rice case, that following has dwindled. Publicly honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month would have been a great way to at least salvage some of those fans while they may still be within arm's reach.
By no means am I saying I would want the NFL to simply use this as a PR tactic. However, honoring this month could have raised a lot more awareness, helped empower victims, encouraged survivors and discouraged potential future offenders on a stage and in a way that only the most popular league in the world can.
Most important, though, the NFL beginning a campaign to take a stance on domestic violence would do what the public has been begging for since this all started — the league to admit to its mistake. The front office may have mishandled the Ray Rice case and done a bad job with enforcement when legal issues have risen across the board, but everyone makes mistakes. The public just wants to see the NFL admit them and seriously change them. Take a stance as a league and say that although this was a problem for us, we don't condone this behavior and we want to encourage others not to involve themselves with such violence.
So why not start by wearing purple socks on Sundays? Why not raise money to be donated toward building more shelters for victims of domestic violence? Why not take real action against this issue? It is about time the NFL speaks out. Not just as a league, not just as a brand or business, but as a group of professional, yet flawed, men.