Why Were No Black Women Appointed To The NFL’s Special Counsel on Domestic Violence?

THE NFL has hired three qualified women, Lisa Friel, the former head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office; NO MORE co-founder Jane Randel; and Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence., for a special counsel to help get a handle on the domestic violence issues that are currently front and center for the league.

While the move is a step in the right direction, some have wondered why a league which is 67% black has no women of color serving on this special counsel. On Tuesday, noted civil rights activist Jessie Jackson voiced his opinion on the action taken by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL:


“Where is the jury of your peers?” The civil rights leader calls the lack of diversity among the senior advisers a “shameful insensitivity” that “compounds the credibility crisis.”


It was one of the first things that stood out to me. Not because I feel this is a “race” issue, but because I do believe that a connection to the culture, understanding relationships, history, back story etc. absolutely helps for compassion and the ability to relate to the complexities that crowd this issue.

The NFL’s vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, Anna Isaacson’s- also not a woman of color- role has been expanded to include social responsibility, one has to wonder if she is simply the liaison between Goodell and these three women.

It’s still early in the process but, that seems like an obvious oversight.