Professional Athletics

Recent high-profile cases in the NFL and other professional sports leagues have focused unprecedented attention on the problems of domestic violence and sexual assault in athletics, as well as in the society as a whole.

Professional Sports

This public spotlight provides a powerful opportunity for professional sports organizations to play a leadership role in addressing these problems not only within their organizations, but also in their role as community partners.

MVP is uniquely well-placed to provide consulting and implementation assistance with this process. We were the first organization to conduct gender violence prevention trainings with professional sports organizations, beginning in the NFL in the late 1990s. We have the most experience working in these settings of any program in the field.

Trainings have typically been held in the off-season, rookie camp, training camp, or spring training, and occasionally during the season. MVP works with the players, coaches, front office staff, and management, with specialized training modules for each group.

We work with the major league teams, as well as with minor league clubs and development leagues.

In sessions with professional athletes and others, MVP trainers:

  • Discuss the societal problems of domestic violence and sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal harassment, abuse and violence.
  • Help people recognize warning signs for abuse in their own relationships or those of their teammates or colleagues.
  • Introduce the basic concepts of the bystander approach to prevention.
  • Examine the relationship between gender norms and expectations of “real men” that are often idealized and unrealistic.
  • Discuss the special circumstances that professional athletes and front office staff face in terms of public visibility and media scrutiny.
  • Facilitate discussions about the special role that successful male (and female) athletes can play in challenging attitudes and beliefs about masculinity and femininity that contribute to abusive behavior.

Partial list of professional teams that MVP has worked with:

  • New England Patriots
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • New York Yankees
  • Detroit Tigers
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Cleveland Indians
  • British Columbia (BC) Lions
  • Edmonton Eskimos
  • Calgary Stampeders
  • LA Clippers
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Miami Heat
  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Chicago Bulls
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Utah Jazz
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • LA Lakers
  • Washington Wizards
  • Houston Rockets
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Boston Celtics
  • Indiana Pacers

For an article that outlines MVP’s groundbreaking work with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League in developing a widely popular social messaging campaign, and providing educational programming to high school students, click here.