To burnish its image after multiple scandals involving star players behaving violently off the field, the National Football League is requiring draft picks to attend an anti-domestic violence training session, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
The league had already been grappling with an image problem when fresh scandals buffeted the sport in 2014, according to the Monitor. Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens was seen striking his partner until she fell unconscious in an elevator; Greg Hardy, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, beat his girlfriend; Ray McDonald, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, hit his fiancée; and Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings physically disciplined his son.
When the NFL conducts its 2015 draft of new players in Chicago this week, 28 rookies will watch a 45-minute video presentation aiming to sensitize them against domestic violence and sexual assault, USA Today reported.
Besides the film, they will also hear former receivers Michael Irvin and Cris Carter talk about coping with fame.
“You can bring in Dr. Phil, or you could bring in the highest paid hired guns in the world. But [the players] don’t relate to it, and they won’t listen to it,” said Irvin.
“But the badges of shame from us making the bad decisions are the badges that get us into the room and get the ears of these young men, because they know we came up just like they came up, we fought to get where we were and where we are,” USA Today reported.