On Sunday, the NFL’s long, scandal-stained season will finally come to a close. Regardless of who comes out on top in the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl match-up, the 2014 NFL season will be remembered for all the wrong reasons; it will be remembered as the year when the league was no longer able to turn a blind eye to domestic violence. Or, at least that’s what women’s rights group UltraViolet hopes to accomplish with their latest #GoodellMustGo video.
Beginning today, on Sports Illustrated‘s website, UltraViolet ran their latest effort in their campaign to oust NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over the league’s backlog of domestic violence allegations. The campaign, made up of a video and companion banner ad, features a football player tackling a woman while a voice over reads, “Let’s take domestic violence out of football.” The video concludes with the text, “55 NFL abuse cases unanswered,” and the group’s signature hashtag, “#GoodellMustGo.” It’s a powerful, deeply effective ad to watch—in stark contrast to so many other commercials vying for attention in the days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.
The 16-second spot is also slated to run sometime during Sunday’s big game, providing a sobering reminder of the problems within the NFL. “The NFL has completely failed America on domestic violence,” said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, in a statement to press, on why the group created the ad. “With more than 100 million people watching this Sunday, now is the time to remind people that Roger Goodell has ignored more than 55 cases of domestic violence during his tenure. Women are fed up with the NFL’s inaction, and we want Goodell out.”
In addition to the ad, the organization is also rolling out trucks to run through Phoenix today through Sunday, with a banner ad that reads: “55 Cases of Domestic Abuse Unanswered: #GoodellMustGo.”
In September, UltraViolet made news when they flew “#GoodellMustGo” banners over NFL stadiums during games. That same month, the organization launched a petition urging the struggling commissioner to step down, though when asked whether he had considered stepping down, Goodell answered, “Not at all.”
During the game itself, domestic violence awareness and engagement campaign NO MORE will run a 60-second ad designed to put the viewer in the shoes of a domestic abuse victim. The organization has been running PSAs throughout the NFL season as part of their “Speechless” campaign, which featured celebrities, current and former NFL players in unscripted videos where subjects struggled to address the topic they’ve been asked to discuss.
Between a growing list of domestic violence allegations and an ever-increasing number of sexual harassment, and wage discrimination lawsuits being filed by team cheerleaders, the league finds itself at odds with women — who make up 45 percent of all fans. The question is, when the season comes to a close Sunday night, and when the teams return to the field next fall, will people remember?
(Images via Ultraviolet/Flickr)