As the NFL continues to deal with the fallout and public scrutiny that came with its handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal and other incidents of violence against women, more than two dozen NFL players have come forward to participate in an anti-domestic violence public service announcement that will air during tonight’s edition of Thursday Night Football.
The PSAs are part of the NO MORE campaign, an effort to end domestic violence and sexual assault that has partnered with celebrities and corporations. It includes high-profile current NFL players like New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, and Washington running back Alfred Morris, as well as top former players like Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Aeneas Williams. It also includes Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back William Gay, whose mother was killed by her partner and who spoke out on domestic violence during the Rice scandal.
The PSA’s message focuses on saying “no more” to typical excuses offered after accusations of domestic violence or sexual assault. Watch the 60-second version:
The PSA is not an NFL-led effort. According to the campaign, individual players stepped forward to participate after seeing the original versions, which featured actors, actresses, and other celebrities relaying similar messages. The NFL did donate air time for the original PSA in September, amid criticism for its handling of the Rice case. According to a release announcing the PSA, it was produced pro bono and directed by Mariska Hargitay, the actress known for her role in Law & Order: SVU who started the Joyful Heart Foundation, a victims advocacy organization.
“It is a huge opportunity because people look to football players to set the bar,” Hargitay said earlier this month. “These are the people who are our heroes today. And if they stand up and say, “No more” and show men how to be real men … you know, this is targeted at young boys. We’re trying to grow them up a different way and teach them that there are different options and alternatives, and violence is not one of them.”