If you happen to sneak away from football for a few minutes on Sunday to indulge in the comfort food that was USA’s 14-hour Law & Order: Special Victims Unit marathon, you may stumble across some of those same NFL players in a very different context.

That’s because USA Network and the NFL, teaming with the show’s star Mariska Hargitay, are presenting newly filmed interstitials, PSAs and digital content throughout the marathon commemorating National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Spotlighting Hargitay’s own Joyful Heart Foundation and the NO MORE campaign, the promos featured football players such as William Gay (Pittsburgh Steelers), Andrew Hawkins (Cleveland Browns), Mark Herzlich (New York Giants), Ben Watson (New Orleans Saints) and Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys) encouraging everyone to “get off the sidelines” to help stop domestic violence and sexual assault.

“I’m proud and heartened to stand with USA and NFL players to say NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault,” Hargitay said, in a statement. “Being part of NO MORE from the beginning has been a great privilege. We must confront the myths and excuses surrounding—and perpetuating—domestic violence and sexual assault. Together, we can bring an end to this violence.”

During each episode of the 14-hour SVU marathon, viewers are encouraged to take a pledge to get involved at NOMORE.org and seek additional information from national hotlines and other resources. Throughout the day, USA, Joyful Heart, and NO MORE also are using social media platforms to encourage conversation and inspire greater action to stop and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. People can follow along and join the dialogue by using #NOMOREexcuses.

The campaign makes sense for the NFL, which has struggled with domestic abuse issues among its players. Last fall, Baltimore Raven Ray Rice was suspended for two games after TMZ released security video showing him beating his finance, now wife, in an elevator. Last spring, a judge dismissed the case again the running back after he participated in a pretrial intervention program. Still, it’s an issue around which the NFL needs to create some positive publicity.


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