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USA: Responsibility of pro football leagues, teams & other employers in domestic violence cases

Following a February 2014 incident in which Ray Rice, a professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens, was arrested for assaulting his fiancée at the time, many advocates for women's rights and against domestic violence, including the National Organization for Women, considered the responses by the Baltimore Ravens and the National Football League (NFL) to be inadequate.  NFL teams, corporate sponsors and others subsequently reconsidered companies' responsibilities to victims of domestic violence.

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Article
23 October 2014

USA: Nike says it pressured National Football League to improve handling of domestic abuse by players

Author: Matt Townsend, Bloomberg (USA)

"Nike CEO Says Company Took NFL to Task for Domestic Violence", 22 Oct 2014

Nike Inc., the National Football League’s main apparel sponsor, told the NFL it was unhappy with how the organization handled domestic violence by players, Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker said...Nike...severed an endorsement deal last month with [Baltimore Ravens] running back Ray Rice after he was captured on camera striking his then fiancee. Since then, the league has been making progress on domestic violence and child abuse, Parker said...“The commissioner’s responding,” Parker said. “This has been a great lesson for the NFL. He has acknowledged that and is moving forward. I’m optimistic they are moving in a better direction.”

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Article
15 October 2014

Employers' Responsibility To Victims Of Domestic Violence

Author: Cyrus Vance, Jr., Manhattan District Attorney, in Fast Company (USA)

On May 16, 1986...[at] Smith Barney Harris Upham & Company’s midtown Manhattan offices [Smith Barney credit: Flickr user Michelle Chao via CC-BY-2.0is now Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (part of Morgan Stanley)]...Richard Wagenknecht entered the building...to confront his ex-girlfriend...Susana Jimenez. He...shot her in the head, fatally wounding her...Often, domestic abuse spills into the workplace--with devastating consequences for victims, their colleagues, and their employers...A victim may be harassed over the phone or email, be absent because of injuries, or simply be less productive due to extreme stress. If a victim has tried to leave a relationship, the workplace may be the first place an abuser comes looking...So what can companies do to ensure their employees’ safety? Be aware of warning signs that an employee is being abused, including unexplained injuries and absences, and uncharacteristic anxiety, fear, and depression...Companies should have proactive mechanisms in place to support victims, provide them with services, and keep them safe.

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Article
14 October 2014

NFL's Domestic Violence Woes Have 'No Measurable Impact' on Sponsorship

Author: Sam Laird, Mashable (USA)

When it comes to the lucrative sponsorships that help make it a billion-dollar enterprise, the NFL's damage control scramble following the ongoing domestic violence scandal...appears to have worked.  Off-field woes have had “no measurable impact” on NFL sponsorships, the league’s senior vice president of sponsorship and partnership marketing said...[Weeks] ago...a few sponsors issued stern but ultimately meaningless statements...[League commissioner Roger] Goodell has since resolved to draft a new personal conduct policy for the league, scrutinize and change how it handles allegations of domestic violence by players and educate league personnel...[The] NFL has donated millions of dollars worth of commercial airtime for public-service spots by anti-domestic violence groups during games...[The retention of sponsors] underscore[s] the undeniable truth that it's incredibly hard for real-world concerns to overshadow the entertainment value of sports in any sustained, meaningful way...Procter & Gamble [did] pull...out of a deal with NFL teams as part of the league's promotions surrounding breast cancer awareness...

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Article
19 September 2014

NFL sends mixed messages on domestic violence response

Author: Erik Brady and Jim Corbett, USA Today (USA)

The domestic violence controversy roiling the NFL...made news on twin tracks Monday, as the league announced the appointment of new senior advisors who will help shape its policies at the same time the Minnesota Vikings welcomed back running back and accused child abuser Adrian Peterson...The Carolina Panthers said defensive end Greg Hardy, who is appealing a domestic violence conviction, would practice and attend team meetings this week...And the San Francisco 49ers said they will not bend to public pressure in the case of defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who played...[for] the 49ers...after his Aug. 31 arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.  All of these developments came against the backdrop of a video...that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice cold-cocking his future wife...[The NFL finds] itself...at the white-hot center of a morality play about how a workplace in the public eye should respond to cases of alleged domestic violence.

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Article
16 September 2014

NFL's past penalties for domestic violence 'a different story'

Author: Michael Martinez and Priscilla Riojas, CNN (USA)

[with video interview of wife of former NFL player who survived domestic violence]

The NFL's history of punishing players in domestic violence cases is as complicated as the legal cases themselves. Sometimes players were suspended for a game or two. Sometimes, charges were reduced, which also reduced the severity of the NFL punishment. Sometimes, charges were dropped and players' names were cleared...Last month, the NFL announced a new policy against it. Then, this week, running back Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the National Football League on the same day a video showed him knocking out his future wife with a punch earlier this year. But the league hasn't always been so assertive about the matter, one expert said. [refers to cases from 2000 to 2014 involving San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos]

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Article
8 September 2014

Domestic Violence Victim Advocate Groups React To Rice Release, Suspension

Author: Matt Hammond, CBSHouston (USA)

As Ray Rice was released from his contract by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Monday, national advocate groups for victims of domestic violence were mixed in their reactions to the measures taken by the team and league...Chitra Panjabi, vice president of membership of the National Organization for Women, said she was pleased with the additional discipline but believes there are still questions needing answering about how the incident was handled initially...While dissolving Rice’s contract...and sidelining him...send a strong message about domestic violence, Panjabi said, that the team and league took so long to do it speaks to the contrary...Ruth Glenn...of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence said she was encouraged by the steps taken by the NFL and Ravens...and said she believes they can be a part of a real cultural shift among owners, executives, coaches and players on issues of violence against women.

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