This Sunday, February 1, millions of Americans will gather together with family and friends  to watch the Super Bowl XLIX , but what many of the viewers are actually most excited for are the commercials.  It’s not a secret that the NFL has been in the spotlight frequently in the past couple months—and not for great reasons.  From domestic violence to cheating in games, the reputation of the NFL has been seriously questioned.  

During the game, the NFL will be airing an anti-domestic violence ad. This is undoubtedly good for addressing the issue of domestic violence. However, the questioned needs to be asked, why is the league really running this ad?

While the importance of anti-domestic violence campaigns is extremely crucial and the airing of an ad against domestic violence during the Superbowl will be a positive step, the NFL may not have the purest of intentions in airing it. 

If the domestic violence issues hadn’t been made so public this past year, would the NFL have made a similar ad?  Of course the NFL would have known about the incidents, but since there weren’t any campaigns prior to the horrible publicity for the NFL, it’s very likely that they wouldn’t.  And it also seems very likely that nothing would have been done if the intensity and violence of the actions weren’t made known to the public. The league made repeated efforts to minimize the issues involving Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and others. It was not until TMZ released the shocking video of Rice knocking out his then-fiance in a casino elevator that the league felt the need to really address the issue.

Since then, the league has put out anti-domestic violence ads each Sunday that are, quite frankly, offensive.

It’s a joke for the league to suddenly act like it cares about stopping domestic violence. Where was this care prior to the TMZ video?

The NFL shouldn’t be focused on what gets released to the press, but instead on what’s happening before the press finds out—that’s what needs attention and work to be stopped. If the NFL was actually aware of domestic violence issues, and chose to do nothing about it because their reputation wasn’t at risk, what does that say about the NFL as an organization?  As we all tune in to watch Tom Brady go for his fourth title against the Seattle Seahawks’ vaunted defense, remember that the NFL is only airing these commercials because they felt forced to “protect the shield,” as incompetent Commissioner Roger Goodell loves to say.