A black eye for the NFL

CoverGirl boycotts NFL in response to domestic abuse

By Kaitlin Goodhart

If you are someone who, like myself, supports the National Football League and also stands for the voice of women, you may also be deeply upset with the domestic violence conflicts currently going on in the seemingly wonderful world of football.

Recently the NFL has received a great deal of media coverage regarding its players’ battles with domestic violence. This has created an uproar among NFL fans, including many students at USD.

“Considering football is already such a male dominated sport, it becomes dehumanizing when the league tries to slip incidents like domestic violence under the radar,” senior Nicole Steinmetz said. “It comes across as them caring more about keeping successful players than protecting the safety of women.”

On Sept. 14, an edited photo of the CoverGirl “Get Your Game Face On” campaign, portraying a female in a Baltimore Ravens jersey with a black eye hit Twitter with the hashtag #BoycottNFL and #CoverGirlcott. The photo was first edited and released on Twitter by Adele Stan to get CoverGirl’s attention.

CoverGirl has not yet taken down its “Get Your Game Face On” photo, however the company has made it clear it does not support domestic violence.

On Sept. 15, CoverGirl released a statement in response to the Photoshopped images and addressed the NFL’s handling of domestic violence.

“We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans,” the release said. “In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.”

CoverGirl has always shown support for women and has spoken out against domestic violence in the past, including a Facebook press release.

“As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, CoverGirl believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable,” the release said.

CoverGirl’s statement poses the question as to how the acts of domestic violence were handled and what it means for the future of both the NFL and the female fans who have poured their hearts into the game.

The NFL has traditionally been viewed as a male dominated industry, casting a shadow over female fans who are often just as devoted as their male counterparts.

The acts of domestic violence have only perpetuated society’s interpretation of masculinity in relation to the apparent expectation that in order to be a man, you must be tough, which often unintentionally translates to violence.

NFL players are often seen as role models to young boys, primarily due to their tough and masculine appearances and behaviors. Young boys, particularly those involved in sports, are told to “act tough,” “be a man” or “stop playing like a girl.” This has led them to associate acceptance in sports with being strong, tough or even violent. Do we want our children growing up thinking the mistreatment of women is an acceptable portrayal of masculinity?

Sophomore Tyler Myrley, a member of USD’s spirit team and an NFL fan, makes note of the importance of athletic role models.

“I believe that as a professional athlete you are a role model to so many aspiring athletes,” Myrley said. “Since they are always in the public eye, they should pay the consequences.”

We severely condemn violence on the field during games, but we are also supposed to adhere to a zero tolerance policy for violence off the field. How can we better translate the harsh punishments given for violence on the field to those off the field that have previously been trivialized?

According to Hannah Storm, news anchor for ESPN, 45 percent of the NFL’s fans are women. Overall, women have been more vocal toward the issues of domestic violence than men. Are women speaking out because they are true football fans and disapprove of these acts? Or are they falling to societal expectations that place the responsibility to oppose these acts in the hands of women?

This then presents an interesting question: Would this many women be speaking out if the men responsible for handling this situation really followed the zero tolerance policy? #CoverGirlcott is pushing for a dramatic change in the NFL community, starting with CoverGirl.

NFL protesters, with skills in Photoshop, have boycotted CoverGirl, the official beauty partner of the NFL. What do they want from CoverGirl? To stop supporting and sponsoring the NFL.

#CoverGirlcott has made a dramatic statement with Photoshop edits to the CoverGirl NFL models. The pictures send a strong message not only to the NFL and fans, but to the general public as well.