NFL will fund and staff national domestic and sexual violence outreach programs, according to memo

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NFL will fund and staff national domestic and sexual violence outreach programs, according to memo
After months of criticism over the NFL's handling of domestic-abuse cases, Commissioner Roger Goodell is announcing a plan for how he intends to fix the problem. He sat for an interview with WSJ's Monica Langley.
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell holds a press conference on October 8, 2014 in New York City. Goodell addressed the media at the conclusion of the annual Fall league meeting in the wake of a string of high-profile incidents, including the domestic violence case of Ray Rice. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walks to the podium during a press conference at the Hilton Hotel on September 19, 2014 in New York City. Goodell spoke about the NFL's failure to address domestic violence, sexual assault and drug abuse in the league. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks during a press conference at the Hilton Hotel on September 19, 2014 in New York City. Goodell spoke about the NFL's failure to address domestic violence, sexual assault and drug abuse in the league. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, with Adrian Peterson RB out of Oklahoma chosen seventh by the Minnesota Vikings during the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY on Saturday, April 28, 2007. (Photo by Richard Schultz/NFLPhotoLibrary)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 04: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (R) walks the sidelines prior to the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on September 4, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 04: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (R) walks the sidelines prior to the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on September 4, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talks to players at Wake Forest High School in Wake Forest, N.C., on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. He observed practice, talked to the players and took questions from the media. He was there to promote the NFL's Heads Up player safety program. He also took questions about the Ray Rice incident. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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By RYAN GORMAN

The National Football League will begin funding and promoting domestic and sexual violence outreach and support programs as part of a broad sweeping initiative launched in response to recent player-involved incidents, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in a Thursday memo to teams.

The league will provide long-term financial, operational and promotional support to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Goodell wrote. It will also begin mandatory domestic and sexual violence educational sessions for all league executives, staff, coaches and players.

Goodell's memo comes as growing pressure is mounting for him to publicly speak about the controversy surrounding many players including former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. It was posted to Facebook by ESPN reporter Adam Schefter.

The league's action came after it was revealed The Hotline received 84 percent more calls last week but was able to answer less than half, said the commissioner.

"That must not continue," Goodell insisted, adding that "The Hotline will add 25 full-time advocates over the next few weeks that will result in an additional 750 calls a day being answered."

The NSVRC's "Loveisrespect" chat service will soon be able to provide 24-hour-a-day text chats for young adults affected by dating abuse, according to the memo. Other support from the league will be distributed at the state level to ensure more effective outreach at the local level.

Players, coaches, staff and executives – every single person employed by the league – will soon be mandated to attend "broad educational programs" within the next 30 days addressing the league's growing domestic and sexual violence problem, Goodell said.

"These initial sessions will begin to provide the men and women of the NFL with information and tools to understand and recognize domestic violence and sexual assault," said the commissioner.

Teams will begin receiving comprehensive information about domestic and sexual violence resources in their communities. Goodell did not mention if further information would be sent to spouses of those employed the league.

Additional training programs will be developed in the coming months as the league unveils other initiatives aimed at bringing awareness to what many feel has so far been a problem largely ignored by teams and executives.

"We will continue to work with experts to expand and develop long-term programs that raise awareness, educate, and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault both within the NFL and in our society in general."

There was no indication in the memo that Goodell would speak publicly about these initiatives. He has not made any public statements since last week.

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