The CFL is Catching On!  Domestic Violence Training

I wrote earlier this year about the NFL taking a tough and united stand with respect to the conduct of its members and yesterday, in Vancouver, the Canadian Football League did something similar.

Whenever organizations try to change the culture within, it is absolutely critical that the statement comes from the very top of the organizational chart…and is done so publically in order to provide clarity to those inside the organization as well as those on the outside looking in.

CFL Commissioner, Jeffrey Orridge, stood centre stage at BC Place Stadium and told the world that the Canadian Football League’s Policy on violence against women will ensure that everyone across the country receives annual training on domestic violence and that the CFL as a governing body would become personally involved in any situation that arose from now on where a player or employee who violated the new policy.

“It’s clear that the CFL condemns violence against women in all of its forms — domestic violence, sexual assault, verbal abuse and the disrespectful and damaging attitudes that can form the foundation of violence itself,” Orridge said “We all need to do our part to combat it.”

Orridge said the league has the authority to impose sanctions on players or employees who violate the new league policy but he did not elaborate on the exact nature of the punishments, saying they will happen on a case-by-case basis.

The CFL’s Policy on Violence Against Women has three main components. It covers everyone who works for the CFL and all of its club members, as well as incidents that occur at league facilities.

CFL Policy on Violence Against Women

Prevention and education

  • Mandatory annual training on violence against women for all CFL employees and member clubs
  • Support of and participation in awareness efforts on violence against women, especially ones targeting youth

Responding to violence

  • Fully investigate every allegation of violence, and engage local law enforcement authorities where applicable
  • Impose sanctions in confirmed cases or if there is a clear violation of protection, court or police orders. Sanctions range from fines to single or multiple game suspensions to lifetime bans.
  • Acts of violence by members of the public on CFL or club member property can be met with penalties ranging from expulsion to permanent bans

Assistance to victims

  • The situation and risk of future violence will be assessed, and help for the victim will be provided thanks to response teams made up of local expertise
  • Support for behaviour change on the part of the perpetrator will be offered

It was brilliant to see the Commissioner stand there and make a very public statement about what was and what was not going to be tolerated from now on.

No ambiguity.

So often, it is those things that are left open to interpretation and grey that get organizations and everyone connected with them into trouble.

Bravo CFL!