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Stain on the game

January 30, 2015

Drew Lipinski / The Courier

Super Bowl Sunday is known for many things: football, the half-time show and a deluge of commercial interruptions. Domestic violence and sexual assault, however, are never a part of the conversation – until now.

In light of recent controversies surrounding the National Football League (NFL) – most notably the video that showed former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice knocking his then-girlfriend Janay Rice unconscious in a casino elevator – the football giant has tried to repair its image with a series of anti-domestic violence PSAs.

Sunday’s match-up between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks will draw scrutiny not only on the players, but the commercials as well. A 30-second ad spot is estimated to cost between $4-4.5 million and viewership is expected to hit its peak at over 100 million.

Airing for the first time during the Super Bowl, the League-sponsored “No More” campaign aims to bring awareness to the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault. This particular ad – which is reportedly based on an actual 911 call placed by a woman pretending to order a pizza because she is unable to communicate her distress in the presence of her abuser – ends with the message, “When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen.”

“No More” is a young organization. Founded five years ago by a coalition of various groups trying to combat domestic violence and sexual assault, the staff is small (four part-time consultants and no full-time employees), and has only recently gained national recognition.

As students across campus and people around the nation tune in to the big game, social justice issues are unlikely to be discussed during the pre-game shows. Between analyses, preditions and the drama of the day a 60-second ad is unlikely to be a game-changer. The ad could, however, lend support toward repairing the NFL’s image among some viewers.

Elizabeth Meyer
courier News Editor

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