Ms. Foundation for Women challenges the NFL to lead football culture change, by valuing women at all levels of the organization

“Commissioner Goodell and the NFL have a problem with women…”

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger made the following statement at a Black Women’s Roundtable news conference on the NFL.

“Commissioner Goodell and the NFL have a problem with women. Period. Goodell needs to lead real culture change to prove that the NFL respects and values all women. The NFL’s actions so far underscore an ongoing reluctance to fully incorporate all women into NFL decision making at all levels of the organization.

“Hiring three white women as senior advisors – while so many of the victims of NFL violence have been women of color and fully two-thirds of its players are African American men – leaves out the contributions of women of color from outside of the NFL. To develop and implement effective anti-violence-against-women policies and programs, the NFL must listen to all women’s voices. Goodell’s suggestion that, because there are women of color on staff, it is fine that only white women were brought on as senior advisors is emblematic of his dismissive response to women’s concerns and criticisms.

“Goodell needs to do more than hire white women to clean house; he needs to promote women of all colors across his organization. The NFL must have nonsexist advertising standards, pay cheerleaders good wages, hire and promote women coaches, referees and sportscasters, and promote women of all colors within the executive offices of the NFL.

“The NFL must require all of its vendors and advertisers to respect and value women too. Goodell should be setting standards for advertisers and other organizations with which the NFL does business to ensure that they have diversity programs and that their products and services respect and value women.

“Yes, the NFL needs to get its house in order – every room of that house. The NFL must implement effective diversity policies, in addition to the anti-violence policies it is considering. Addressing violence against women by players while ignoring the sexism running rampant throughout the entire organization is not going to work. The NFL needs systemic change to fix a system-wide problem.

“The only way to change the culture of sexism is for the NFL to conduct its business in a way that genuinely respects and values women. We look forward to seeing that change.”

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For more than 40 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has secured women’s rights and freedoms with a special commitment to building the power of low-income, immigrant and women of color. The foundation invests funds, time, expertise and training in nearly 100 trailblazing organizations nationwide.