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NFL to partner with Sport in Society

In an effort to ensure professional, inclusive working environments for its teams and personnel, the National Football League is partnering with Northeastern’s Sport in Society to develop and implement a league-wide workplace-conduct program. Sport in Society is the world’s foremost authority in providing professional development and consulting for organizations that use sport as a tool to promote social responsibility.

Reaffirming the league’s commitment to professional conduct in the workplace, the NFL is instituting this training program to reinforce the social and moral responsibility of those who represent the NFL and make certain that this continues to be an integral part of the NFL culture.

The new program will align with the NFL’s best practices in relation to proper workplace conduct and media relations, with a particular focus on issues relating to gender equity and respect. The educational content will cover legal components related to issues of gender discrimination and harassment and will be delivered through Sport in Society’s sport-focused educational materials, which utilize real-life locker room and on-field scenarios to help athletes and team personnel better understand how these issues relate to their roles as NFL representatives.

“Sport in Society truly applauds the NFL for its commitment to values-based leadership and its understanding of the important role sport has to play in society,” said Dan Lebowitz, executive director for Sport in Society. “The NFL’s efforts on this program are a testament to the positive steps that must be proactively taken by the professional sports industry. Sport in Society has been providing values-based leadership education to the sports industry for over 25 years. We hope that other sports follow the NFL’s leadership in this effort.”

The training program will be constructed as a sustainable model for the NFL to own and deploy across all its teams. Sport in Society’s expert consultants and facilitators will develop the program and prepare NFL team staff members to deliver the curriculum at each team. This method was chosen for its scalability and impact, as each team’s staff will adapt the curriculum and delivery system in a way that is most effective for that team.

“We are pleased to be working with an organization that has a demonstrated track record of success in workplace conduct training in the sports industry,” said Robert Gulliver, executive vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer for the NFL. “Sport in Society will help us develop a program to ensure a better understanding of professional workplace conduct and produce positive results.”

Key educational delivery methods will include both direct facilitated discussions and video content. Relevant media clips and segments featuring former NFL players, well-known experts on gender issues and sport, coaches, and media professionals will provide further relevancy and points for discussion. The program will be developed by the end of the 2010 season.

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