Nearly two dozen current and former National Football League stars appear in powerful new PSAs condemning domestic violence and sexual abuse.
They look straight into the camera as they say "No more" to excuses and rationalizations that perpetuate the problem. These include "Boys will be boys," "He just has a temper," "Why doesn't she just leave?" and "She was asking for it."
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning bookends a 60-second clip, which also features league exec Troy Vincent and Pittsburgh Steelers star William Gay, both of whom have suffered abuse tragedies in their lives. The work was developed by Y&R and produced by Viacom and the Joyful Heart Foundation. The latter's founder and president, actress Mariska Hargitay, was among the spots' directors.
"This is a monumental step toward change," Hargitay tells USA Today. "If badass NFL heroes are coming forward to talk about these issues, I guarantee you it is going to give inspiration and permission to young boys to step up in a new way. Love in a new way, protect in a new way, and to be a man in a new way."
The NFL, plagued by scandals involving Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and others, is donating $3 million a week in air time for the PSAs. The player spots broke during last week's Thursday Night Football telecast on CBS. "No More" spots featuring celebrities like Courteney Cox, Amy Poehler and Ice-T broke a month ago.
The campaign's plain talk is compelling, and so is its stark visual style. Against a plain white background, the players establish an instant connection with viewers. That makes it hard to look away when the subjects challenge us to face tough issues and do the right thing.