NFL hiring female advisers to shape domestic violence policies

Roger Goodell plans to give women a voice on the NFL's domestic violence policy. (USATSI)
Roger Goodell plans to give women a voice on the NFL's domestic violence policy. (USATSI)

The NFL is hiring four women to serve as advisers in shaping the league's stance on domestic violence, according to a memo from commissioner Roger Goodell to the 32 NFL owners sent Monday.

The full memo, via Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, can be read here. The gist of it is that the league attempting to change the outside perception of how it handles domestic violence and, hopefully, an earnest effort to change the actual process internally.

"Because domestic violence and sexual assault are broad societal issues, we have engaged leading experts to provide specialized advice and guidance in ensuring that the NFL's programs reflect the most current and effective approaches," Goodell wrote.

First, there's Anna Isaacson, currently the NFL's vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, who will take on an expanded role as vice president of social responsibility.

"Anna has been leading our internal work relating to how we address issues of domestic violence and related social issues," Goodell wrote. "In this new role, she will oversee the development of the full range of education, training and support programs relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and matters of respect with the goal of accelerating our implementation of the commitments made in my letter of August 28."

The NFL also specifically hired "three senior advisors" -- all women -- "to help lead and shape the NFL's policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault."

Those three women are:

  • Lisa Friel, the former head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.
  • Jane Randel, a co-founder of NO MORE, "a national initiative to raise the profile of and normalize the conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault."
  • Rita Smith, the "former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence"

Per Goodell's memo, the NFL's newest employees/advisers will focus on five things in their respective roles:

1) Overseeing the development and implementation of the NFL's domestic violence/sexual assault (DV/SA) workplace policy;

2) Building on existing training curricula and education programs for all personnel, including players and non-players;

3) Disseminating and executing completed training programs for all 32 teams, including executives, coaches, players and staff; 

4) Identifying and managing DV/SA resources to enhance current services such as NFL Life Line and the NFL’s Employee Assistance Programs for league and club employees and their families;

5) Identifying and disseminating information to employees and families regarding resources outside of the NFL and clubs, including local advocacy and support organizations in each NFL community.

Does this solve the NFL's problem with domestic violence? No, it does not. 

And many will point to this as lip service from a league that bungled the Ray Rice situation and domestic violence as a broader issue. But it's at least a start and positive movement, even if it's only a reaction after a wave of outrage from the general public.

"We are continuing to develop our organization to strengthen our ability to address the wide range of issues we face and other changes in our office will be announced soon," Goodell wrote. "Our goal is to make a real difference on these and other issues. We know that we will be judged by our actions and their effectiveness."

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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