I have to admit, I never thought I'd be writing about the National Football League and positive publicity, especially involving a woman, but here I go. The NFL certainly hasn't been a "SafeHaven" up to this point in its "storied" history. Currently there are 14 players playing every Sunday in the NFL with past Domestic Violence history. Within the last 2 years alone, two of the leagues most praised athletes were in the news for domestic violence. Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson who was charged for whipping his child, and Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice who was charged with aggravated assault against his fiancé, both continue to play in the league today. Yet, through all the negative publicity the NFL continues to be the most watched professional sport in America. I understand the idea of forgiveness and redemption, but what kind of message is being sent by the NFL with its lack luster stance against Domestic Violence?
With that out of the way, the NFL took a small step in the right direction today. The Buffalo Bills announced this morning that Kathryn Smith will be the new special teams quality control coach, making her the first full-time female coach in the National Football League. I say small step in the right direction for two reasons. First, and the most obvious, there are tremendous strides to be made in order for the true equality among genders idea we talked about during class this week to ring true, but its a start. And Secondly, my first reaction when I saw this announcement was that it seemed a bit forced. Before todays announcement, I had never heard of a "special teams quality control coach" and I think its fair to say it's not a very crucial position. If this is the best the NFL has got, its time to continue stepping up their game.
In a sport so known for its dominating masculine athletes, its about time that a female was the headline of NFL news, and not as a victim of domestic violence. Although I may question the title that Kathryn Smith will be taking over, I in no way want to take away from the accomplishment of Smith. She has paved the path for other females with the ability to coach and lead football players to be able to do the same. I cant help but think and dream of the day where the NFL is announcing there first Female head coach, that's the day when we will be able say there is true equality in the NFL. To twist the words of Neil Armstrong, today was one small step for the NFL, but one giant leap for Womankind!