Sports Leaders Help Unveil New Playbook at “Founding Fathers” Event

Aggression may win you points on the field or on the court, but outside of sports that behavior is not tolerated. Now, coaches from every level and every major sport are coming off the sidelines to play a pro-active role in preventing violence and sexual assault in dating relationships.

With help from the new Coaching Boys into Men Playbook – the first tool to engage both coaches and young athletes in efforts to prevent violence – coaches are giving student and professional players messages about the importance of rejecting violence in all its forms.

Developed with input from coaches and athletes, the Playbook gives coaches a step-by-step approach to discussing dating violence and sexual assault with players. From the pre-season motivational speech to post-season activities, it offers tips on how to incorporate anti-violence messages in season or practice plans, and identify teachable moments that can be used to approach players in locker rooms, practice and play. It slides easily into a coach’s pocket and reads like a sports playbook.

The Playbook was unveiled at a “founding fathers” campaign event in New York City on June 14. It will be distributed to high school sports coaches nationwide in partnership with the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Leading sports figures including Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre and two-time national champion Pete Carroll from USC have endorsed it.

It was developed by Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) and the Boston-based WARM2Kids. The Playbook is one of several initiatives that the FVPF has pioneered to engage men and boys in violence prevention.

New York City Event

“This is not a book, it’s a mission,” said former coach and NBA world champion, M.L. Carr, who founded WARM2Kids, at the launch event at Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. “Players, especially younger athletes, look to coaches not only for motivation and guidance in the game, but sometimes for life lessons. The Playbook helps coaches tackle the serious topic of violence head on.”

Carr joined with New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer, New York Knicks Head Coach Herb Williams, Gateway founder Ted Waitt, women’s rights leader Gloria Steinem, and FVPF President Esta Soler to launch the Playbook. Toomer called it “a great idea to reach kids through their coaches.”

Coach of the Year Martin Jacobson of Martin Luther King High School in Manhattan said at the event that his daughter dated an athlete in college, and the athlete hit her. Jacobson encouraged her to get out of the relationship, but when she broke up with him, “he beat her up and put a gun to her head.” Jacobson’s daughter subsequently quit college and became suicidal. “She survived,” he said, “but it’s been ten years and a long road.”

Dating Violence Prevalent

The experience of Jacobson’s daughter is far from unusual. A survey sponsored by Liz Claiborne and conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) in February found that:

  • More than half of teens (57 percent) know friends or peers who have been physically, sexually or verbally abused.
  • 13 percent of teen girls in a relationship say they were physically hurt or hit.
  • One in four teen girls (26 percent) in a relationship reports enduring or repeated verbal abuse.
  • One in four teenage girls who has been in a relationship says she has been pressured to perform oral sex or engage in intercourse.

The Playbook is part of FVPF’s “Coaching Boys into Men” program, which gives men tools to help them become role models for the boys in their life.

“Coaching Boys into Men” works side-by-side with the FVPF’s “Founding Fathers” public education campaign, which is supported by Macy’s, the Waitt Family Foundation, the Wireless Foundation and Verizon Wireless. The “Founding Fathers” campaign invites men to take action by signing onto the “Founding Fathers” declaration, using the new Playbook, enlisting other men in this work, advocating for stronger violence prevention policies, and donating to the campaign.

More information on the “Founding Fathers” campaign is available at The Coaching Boys into Men Playbook can be downloaded at Visit to learn more about the organization.



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