On Super Bowl Sunday Root for Team White Ribbon

This year presents one of the best opportunities we have ever had to discuss positive masculinity on Super Bowl Sunday. With the highly visible Ray Rice case (and the situation’s handling by the NFL) and with the national call to action to end sexual violence on campuses; awareness and readiness to talk among men is at an all-time high.

Let’s take advantage of this moment! Whether you’ve never watched the game, or you would never miss the game, THIS is the year to watch with friends. I want to help you get prepared to ask a few questions and have a good conversation.

During Sunday’s game there will be an ad airing sponsored by the national NO MORE campaign. The ad is also being cosponsored by the NFL, which means they want a conversation to take place among viewers. For a sneak peek you may view this ad here. You will notice this is a 911 call, and it ends urging all of us to listen. The end of the ad is a perfect opportunity to start a discussion with other men in the room. Start with the specifics of the ad:

- Would I have picked up on those clues?

- How does one go about helping a friend or neighbor?

- What do I need to know in order to respond well?

Once others are engaged, you’ve opened a window for a deeper conversation about what’s behind the violence. One part of the solution in preventing this violence in the first place is for men to change the norms of what it means to be a man. You might ask:

- How do you think your son, the kids you coach or teach, or other men in your life would describe you? How do you want them to see you? What do you want them to learn about being a man from the example you set?

- What do we need from each other as support from other men to create a different legacy of manhood? How do we support each other in this work?

Don’t feel as though you have to stick to a script; often opening the floor for a conversation will help others to open up. Embrace that. Hear the thoughts and ideas of the others in the room and resist the urge to lead them back toward your list of questions.

If you are still unsure about how to carry the conversation forward, you can find more ideas on what to talk about in prior posts from this blog. If you use social media during the game and want to engage your followers in the conversation, you can use these tags: #reimaginemanhood #wrd @janedoe

Finally, don’t let the game end with a missed opportunity. Before the final quarter, invite your friends to take the pledge with you right then and there. Here is a page that suggests a way to conduct the pledge; we call this “Take a Moment”

I’ll be there with you in spirit, as I am also having friends over for Super Bowl watching this year.

Go Pats!!