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NFL Finally Adds Women to Assist in Policy Making

BREAKING NEWS: It’s 2014 and the NFL finally adds women to assist in policy making.

In light of the recent backlash over its handling of high profile cases like Ray Rice, the NFL has finally moved to include women in its policy making process.

First, Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, will now be in an expanded role as vice president of social responsibility. So far no word on exactly what “social responsibility” means though it seems clear the league wants to improve its standing among the general public and particularly with regard to women. What that entails will be very telling on whether it actually has teeth or is a title in name only.

Second, the NFL has brought in Lisa Friel, Jane Randel, and Rita Smith to consult with the league to help correct it’s credibility problem on issues related to violence against women and children. Friel is the former head of the sex crimes prosecution unit in the New York District Attorney’s Office. Randel is the co-founder of NoMore an organization devoted to ending violence against intimate partners and sexual assault. Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

These women will assist the Commissioner, at the moment Roger Goodell, on enacting policies, resources and outreach on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. What exact role they will serve as “consultant” remains also to be seen but it’s another step in including women with knowledge of the issues in the decision making process.

Finally, the league brought in high powered Democratic lobbyist Cynthia Hogan to serve as a top lobbyist for the league in dealing with upcoming Congressional issues; including the numerous calls Goodell has received to explain his handling of the Ray Rice assault on his wife Janay Palmer Rice. In addition to the Rice incident, Hogan is also expected to deal with issues related to upcoming FCC proposal to end the blackout rule and she will also handle the NFL’s political action committee, the brain trauma lawsuits, and a possible upcoming fight regarding the league’s tax exempt status.

She is the first top female lobbyist the NFL has ever retained.

Hogan comes with an impressive background. She was instrumental in achieving passage of the Violence Against Women Act as a senior aide to the Senate and was also counsel to Vice President Joe Biden. She has also served as the staff director of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Hogan will head the Washington office and be involved in a wide variety of issues including a candid assessment of the NFL’s presence right now in Washington in anticipation of the upcoming battles.

All of these women have excellent backgrounds to help improve the league’s understanding of issues so long as their voice is heard. Given the difficulty in getting to this level, it is certainly reasonable to question the league’s sincerity. While certainly long overdue, it is good news that the NFL is willing to admit it needed to hear from those primarily affected by these issues and who have knowledge and expertise to discuss them.

Stay tuned to NGSC Sports as we continue to keep you updated on this developing issue.

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