It’s time for Super Bowl 50. We’re stoked to cheer for our team, party with friends, rate the commercials–and stop sexual harassment. Uncool behavior can happen anywhere–and it’s definitely a buzzkill when it does. But we know that sports fans are not fans of sexual harassment. So join the team. Stand up against harassment, and declare your party a safe space for all: YOU can be the MVP this Super Bowl Sunday.
Together we can create a culture in which all people are safe, respected, and able to be their best selves. GAME ON.
Wherever you’re watching the game, and whoever you’re with: YOU can make sure your party is a safe space for all. Here’s how:
1) Be the MVP at home: There’s nothing like hanging out at home with the family watching the Super Bowl–that is, until your doofus cousin makes a sexist comment about the cheerleaders. If you’re like 8 out of 10 guys, you feel uncomfortable in that situation, but you’re not really sure what to say. This time around, break the silence. If someone you’re with says something demeaning about women–or something transphobic– tell them it’s not okay. One small statement can shift the standards among your friends and family and make violence and discrimination against women–even in its tiniest everyday forms–unacceptable.
2) Be the MVP who breaks the silence: Football players and fans can lead the way toward making violence against women unacceptable. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, for example, called out the NFL’s domestic violence problem and rallied teammates and fans to holds themselves accountable. “I can’t fix the world. I can’t fix the NFL. I can’t change the guys around me,” he said. “The only person I can change is the one in the mirror.” So stand up and speak up for your own values—and help that become the way everyone rolls.
3) Be the MVP at the bar: Watching the game at a bar: fun. Being a server or bartender who gets harassed when a fan crosses the line: not fun. What can you do about it? Treat the staff with respect; speak up if someone else doesn’t. When you set the tone, others will follow.
4) Be the MVP for making people think: CBS Sportscaster James Brown wants all of us to hold each other to a higher standard because “our silence is deafening and deadly.” He made it loud and clear for all of us to take responsibility for our own words. Next time you hear a friend call someone a “bitch”—for instance—say, “So what do you actually mean by that?” It could shut them down—or, it could start a pretty interesting conversation…and maybe a moment of reflection and change.
5) Be the MVP who takes a stand: When we see something wrong, many times we stay silent. We think that if we don’t say anything, we won’t risk doing something wrong. But if you’re silent in a bad situation–whether it’s a friend saying a sexist comment or if you witness a sexual assault–you’re accepting it. Be the person who breaks the silence, who says NOT OKAY!, who changes the norm.
6) Be the MVP of keeping it fun for everyone: Nip gross comments or moves in the bud so that everyone has fun. Whoever brings home the rings, when we break the silence and stand up for respect, everyone wins.
7) Be the MVP of change-making: Even fans of the losingest teams had some wins this season, as fan pressure helped drive the pressure on the NFL to make real policy change around domestic violence.
As sports fans, we have the power to demand more from our players, coaches, and sports culture as a whole. Together, we are the Breakthrough Generation. Together, we’re making gender-based violence unacceptable—and building a world where everybody wins. And we’re glad you’re on the team.
P.S. Tell us YOUR stories of how YOU were the MVP over at THE G WORD: Transforming gender norms, one story at a time.