Challenging Super Bowl Fans To #BeAModelMan

Photo courtesy of The Representation Project.
While revelers are celebrating the Super Bowl in San Francisco, two groups are aiming to capture those eyeballs to launch awareness of violence against women and children while promoting healthy definitions of masculinity. The hashtag #BeAModelMan is showing up in messages projected onto the façades of buildings all over the city, along with positive messages about masculinity, by Futures Without Violence and The Representation Project. The projections are moving about the city via a high-tech projection system from Obscura Digital that is being driven by a one-of-a-kind Tesla. "We're challenging the NFL, sports associations, and fans to encourage boys and men to embrace a healthier definition of masculinity," Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of The Representation Project and writer/director of the acclaimed documentary The Mask You Live In, said in a statement. "Imagine how we could uplift the call to 'be a man' in the world." The NFL, in particular, has what the New York Times calls a "recurring quandary" with domestic violence incidents, following a high-profile case centered on Dallas Cowboys player Greg Hardy, who was suspended without pay for most of the last football season following an assault conviction in 2014. It was overturned on appeal when his former girlfriend refused to testify against him. The decision to play Hardy despite his lack of public remorse has been a point of contention among fans and high-profile football personalities, like former player and current commentator Terry Bradshaw. As the New York Times points out, this is only one of many cases where penalties for players accused or convicted of domestic violence is inconsistent, creating a hazy message about respect for women and children from the league, individual teams, and players involved in the incidents. "With Super Bowl 50 here in our town, we want to raise awareness about the critical role that men must play in raising a healthy, less violent future generation," Esta Soler, founder and president of Futures Without Violence, said in a statement. "How do you coach boys into men? By talking to them early about respect for women." NFL players are now required to attend domestic violence training as part of the league's reaction to the high-profile case of Ray Rice, who was caught punching his girlfriend by a hotel elevator camera. Public outcry against the NFL, which only suspended Rice for two games, motivated the league to take a bigger stand by generating official policies to address domestic violence. The NFL did not respond to a request for their response at press time.

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