Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Addressing Domestic Violence - ProtectHer Sexual Assault Prevention Program

South Carolina football players were warned by the Head Ball Coach to respect women.  Coach Spurrier's rule was, "Never, ever, hit a girl. If you do this, you're finished as a Gamecock football player."  He said, "It's a wonderful rule and when you enforce it, you get results...You'll have to ask other coaches why they don't have that rule.  Everybody knows I have one." 

Dennis Dodd in his article on Steve Spurrier's Zero-Tolerance policy said, "Any expert in the field can tell you one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime."  Dodd makes a great point worth repeating: "Why can't that stance be adopted nationwide?"

A lack of respect for women is a big problem in football today that reflects a larger problem in our modern society.  It is a problem that must be addressed us as football coaches, who whether we like it or not, are responsible for helping to teach our players right from wrong and how to be productive members of society.  There are consequences for doing nothing: The rape scandal at Baylor cost Art Briles his job and his reputation.  Ray Rice was let go by the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 after his domestic violence incident and has not been able to get back into the league since.  Greg Hardy had an All-Pro season in 2013 season and is now finds himself out of the league as well because of domestic violence.  Even worse are the physical and emotional consequences of the women themselves which go largely ignored.  Dennis Dodd also did a must-read piece for all coaches on the story of Brenda Tracy holding Nebraska Head Coach Mike Riley accountable.

These incidents of violence against women have become more common in the news and they cast a negative light on our sport.  Some more athletes in the news recently for domestic violence: Joe Mixon, Dede Westbrook, Dorial Green-Beckham at Oklahoma, Dalvin Cook and De'Andre Johnson at Florida State, and Tyreek Hill for his incident in college at Oklahoma State.  

Two ladies are doing something to help coaches get the word out to our players.  In early March, Alexis Jones and Sara Hirsh Bordo will continue their work of addressing sexual assault and rape culture on sports teams by developing a curriculum for teams that aims to redefine "locker room" talk.  Alexis says, “By rebranding what it means to be a man, I hope to empower male athletes to raise the bar for all men on campus to begin respecting and protecting their fellow female students."

With support and championship from The White House-launched It’s On Us initiative, the ProtectHer Program is being developed.  ProtectHer began as a locker room speaking series given by Alexis Jones in 2014.  The program will be available for license to schools and universities across the country in March 2017 after its launch at SXSW, The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals in Austin, TX, in early March.

Some testimonials:

“Alexis’ talk opened the eyes of every player in the room, and I believe her ProtectHer program has the ability to actually inspire real change in their behavior and in the culture of every locker room.” – Gary Patterson (TCU Head Football Coach)

“We have to be more than just “coaches” today, teaching young men about football. I have to teach them about the important things in life and no one is doing a better job of helping turn these boys into men, than Alexis Jones of ProtectHer. She talks about manhood in a new way that these players understand. She’s one of the best speakers I’ve ever brought into a locker room.” – Charlie Strong (University of South Florida Head Football Coach)

“I’ve never seen someone communicate to young men, especially on the topic of resecting women, the way Alexis does. Three years in a row, I’ve watched her blow the minds of our Elite 11 boys, and you can’t help but think, she is single handedly going to usher our country into an entirely new definition of manhood. The truth is, the sports world has never needed her so badly. She inspires men everywhere to move from being the problem to becoming the cure.” - Trent Dilfer (ESPN Commentator/ former NFL QB)

Here is Alexis speaking to the 2014 Elite 11 Quarterbacks:

Please check out Alexis' ProtectHer site and become proactive with your players about violence against women.  The curriculum is comprised of four parts; the first part is a 50-minute documentary premiering at SXSW in early March.  The subsequent portions will include short videos and a guide for the Coach leading the open dialogue.  In its initial stage the program is geared towards college athletes, with the next step being expansion to include high school athletes as well.


  1. THANK YOU for the support! My husband was a professional athlete for nine years and growing up with four older brothers, I'm passionate about encouraging male athletes by highlighting all the guys doing it RIGHT!!! There are so many great guys out there and I believe that these young men are not simply the problem as so many people want to claim, I also truly believe they are the cure and we've never needed them so badly. So THANK YOU for highlighting our new ProtectHer program, we're excited to inspire guys to better respect the girls and women in their lives;) - Alexis Jones Founder/ CEO, ProtectHer

  2. Alexis, thank you for all you are doing to help our young men and best of luck to you.