By Blonde+Co, Special for USDR
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) has teamed up with New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to launch #NotAFan, a new campaign to address domestic violence in professional sports. #NotAFan is a fan-focused public awareness campaign produced by New York creative agency Blonde + Co that empowers fans to take a stand against domestic violence. The campaign features sports figures from the New York teams: The Yankees (Joe Girardi), Mets (Jeurys Familia), Knicks (John Starks), Liberty (Kiah Stokes), Rangers (Rod Gilbert), and Cosmos (Lucky Mkosana and Giovanni Savarese) in a series of video PSAs and photography portraits.
The message is simple: you can be a baseball/basketball/hockey/soccer fan, a Yankees/Mets/Knicks/Liberty/Rangers/Cosmos fan, but NOT A FAN of domestic violence. The campaign encourages fans to wear purple on their team’s jersey or cap and tweet/upload to social media a photo of themselves with the hashtag #NotAFan with a short message, ie:
I’m a X (type of sport) fan, a Y fan (team), but #NotAFan of domestic violence
The PSA also directs viewers to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence where they can learn more and donate to support efforts to raise awareness and address domestic violence. The videos and static visuals can also be viewed here:www.notafandv.org. Teams will feature the campaign on their various social media platforms, websites, indoor/outdoor advertising at stadiums, MSG Network, YES Network, ONE World Sports, etc.
Clear Channel has generously donated space in Times Square and elsewhere. Additionally, the campaign will be in Taxi TV and elsewhere in New York City.
The campaign includes 6 x 30 seconds videos for each team with a customized script:
Girardi: I’m a baseball fan. I’m a Yankee fan. I’m NOT A FAN of domestic violence.
Familia: I’m a baseball fan. I’m a Mets fan. I’m NOT A FAN of domestic violence.
*Starks: I’m a basketball fan. I’m a Knicks fan. I’m NOT A FAN of domestic violence.
Stokes: I’m a basketball fan. I’m a Liberty fan. I’m NOT A FAN of domestic violence.
*Gilbert: I’m a hockey fan. I’m a Rangers fan. I’m NOT A FAN of domestic violence.
Mkosana: I’m a soccer fan. I’m a Cosmos fan. I’m NOT A FAN of domestic violence.
There is also a dramatic 60-second mash-up compilation. Additionally, a 30 second video (in English and Spanish) features Speaker Melissa Mark- Viverito:
Domestic violence may be something that happens behind closed doors, but it’s not a private matter. Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. It’s a crime that destroys families. And it’s time for all of us totake a stand and say: I’m a baseball fan, a basketball fan, a football fan, a soccer fan, a hockey fan but I’m Not A Fan of Domestic Violence.
Together with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is the first public official in the country to launch a major campaign against domestic violence in sports. A lifelong advocate against domestic violence, Mark-Viverito has been outspoken about the need for professional sports to develop stronger policies.
Domestic violence is a widespread social problem and professional sports are not immune. When an athlete is involved in an incident, sports fans are often caught in the middle and forced to reconcile their allegiance to a team and their feelings about domestic violence with little direction. This can cause conflict, confusion, and misunderstanding. The #NotAFan campaign provides sports fans with a means to express support for their team, while advocating that domestic violence is unacceptable. Fans don’t have to pick a side.
The New York teams have shown leadership by each providing a notable player or alum to appear in each video. The videos feature Mets’ star closer Jeurys Familia, Yankees’ current manager and 1996 World Series hero Joe Girardi, Knicks legend John Starks, Liberty rising star Kiah Stokes, Rangers and hockey Hall of Fame legend Rod Gilbert, and Cosmos star Lucky Mkosana and coach Giovanni Savarese. Speaker Mark-Viverito is featured as well.
The athletes prepare for the game. They flex, stretch, and suit up. The arenas stand empty, majestic in their desolation. We hear a cacophony of broadcasters calling the play-by-play over a raucous crowd. Jeurys Familia prepares to pitch. Joe Girardi sits heavy in the locker room. Kiah Stokes fights for position in the post. John Starks give his famous troublemaker stare. Lucky Mkosana dribbles hard. The stadium lights turn on. The players make a hard move to camera and boom, the image and sound climax… “911, what’s your emergency” a police scanner reports a domestic violence call. The sound erupts with the players’ hard actions. A heart beats eerily as the stars put on the purple details of their gear and display proudly the purple ribbon. They stand to camera and declare “I’m not a fan of domestic violence.”
“We wanted the PSAs to look like commercial spots. Very different from the traditional talking head style PSA we are so used to seeing,” says Jimmy Ferguson, who directed and co-wrote the spots. “We carefully designed the cinematography, editing, color grade and sound design with the intention of creating a cinematic environment.” Glenn Chocky, who edited the campaign says, “It was important to craft a story that was familiar to sports fans so we could draw them in. This would be the strongest vehicle to deliver this important message.”
The campaign’s call to action is ‘PURPLE. WEAR IT. SHARE IT.’ asks fans to upload a photo of themselves to social media with a message, ‘I’m a fan of baseball, I’m a fan of XX team but I am #NotaFan of Domestic Violence.’
Blonde+Co is an award winning, WBENC nationally certified Women’s Owned Business whose Founder and President, Julie Stahl, left an abusive relationship two decades ago.
NCADV Executive Director, Ruth Glenn: “We are so very pleased that Melissa Mark-Viverito and these NY teams and their fans are doing their part to raise awareness about domestic violence. Professional sports in this nation are influential and enjoyed by millions. Fans should be encouraged to enjoy organized professional sports, but also understand that this nation still has a domestic violence epidemic. Reaching out to fans and using this opportunity to remind them, is so very appropriate. Estimates range that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 9 men experience domestic violence in their lives. NCADV is #NotAFan and we applaud the efforts of everyone involved in this powerful campaign to raise awareness.”
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito: “Domestic violence is something that I’m deeply concerned about and have spent my whole life working to address. #NotAFan aims at giving fans an outlet where they can openly support their teams while expressing their displeasure that domestic violence is unacceptable. I want to thank the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Blonde and Co, Safe Horizon for their commitment to raise awareness about domestic violence and to the New York sports teams for their leadership in speaking out against domestic violence.”
The New York City Council has made an historic investment of more than $14M over 3 years into the Domestic Violence Empowerment Initiative to connect more people with necessary services.
Joe Girardi, Manager of the New York Yankees: “Domestic violence is a serious issue that demands our attention and support. As a member of the New York Yankees and the New York sports family, I am proud to promote the #NotAFan campaign and its efforts to empower all fans to stand against domestic violence.”
John Starks, Knicks legend: “As a husband and a father, I understand how serious of an issue domestic violence is in this world. We all need to take a stand against it and I am proud to have my voice heard to help bring awareness of this subject through the #NotAFan campaign.”
Kiah Stokes, Liberty rising star: “Domestic violence is a vital issue in our society that demands serious attention. As a professional athlete, I feel it is critical for me to use my voice to help those that has been affected. I am proud to be a part of the #NotAFan campaign and I’m hopeful it will bring much needed awareness to the issue.”
Rod Gilbert, Rangers legend: “It is so important to acknowledge how serious of a problem domestic violence is not only in New York, but all over and if this campaign can help bring support to the victims and encourage people to speak up even further, than it is a win for everyone.”
Erik Stover, New York Cosmos COO: “Domestic violence is not an easy subject to discuss. We stand with Council Speaker,Melissa Mark-Viverito, on taking a leadership role to raise awareness of this very real issue and bringing support to the victims inNew York.”
Julie Stahl, Founder and President of Blonde + Co: “We are so proud to be a part of this project and to help realize the shared vision of the Speaker and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Over 20 years ago, I was in an abusive relationship, but I got out of it and never looked back with the support of some strong women in my life. Domestic violence is frighteningly common and completely unacceptable. That’s why we need to send a strong message to people who are stuck in a cycle of abuse, that we as a society are here to support you. And one day you will be in a position, like I am today, to give back.”
Domestic violence is not unique to New York and the goal is to expand nationally.
In the United States, statistics suggest that domestic violence has become epidemic. Each minute, an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners, which equates to more than 10 million victims annually. Domestic violence hotlines across the country receive approximately 20,800 calls per day. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate between genders, either: 1 in 3 women and 1 in 9 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner, though young women between the ages of 18 to 24 are more likely to experience domestic violence.
Physical harm is not the only form of domestic violence. Other forms, such as verbal or emotional abuse, can take a significant toll on mental health. 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have experienced being stalked, causing the target to fear she or he or someone close to them will be harmed or killed. Domestic violence is also correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior. 1 in 15 children are exposed to domestic violence, which can lead to long-term behavioral problems, especially in intimate relationships later in life.
Overall, domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes in the United States. 19% of domestic violence incidents involve a weapon and just the presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
About National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is the voice of victims and survivors and works as the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence. NCADV does this by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive change. For more information about NCADV, visit www.ncadv.org..