The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have made good on their promise to be proactive in fighting violence against women in the wake of the Art Briles scandal.
The team has announced a partnership with Interval House, a local organization that provides housing and support services for abused women, in the “Be More Than a Bystander” Campaign program aimed at increasing “awareness and understanding about the impact of violence against women and girls, and to speak out against demeaning and inappropriate behaviour.”
The program will feature current players Courtney Stephen, Justin Vaughn, Terrell Davis and former Ticat Mike Morreale and feature a community awareness campaign through the team’s web and social media platforms as well as a “Be More Than a Bystander” Day at Tim Hortons Field next season. The team will also incorporate domestic violence awareness and prevention into some of their existing programs, including their high school mentorship programs and their clinics for local football coaches.
“The Tiger-Cats’ longstanding community mission has always been promoting healthy, active, and empowered youth, none of which is possible if a child is exposed to an abusive environment,” owner Bob Young said in a statement. “We’re choosing to engage in ‘Be More Than a Bystander’ which will become one of the pillars of our organization’s already extensive community outreach plan, and will be led by Interval House of Hamilton who work on a daily basis with women and children who are experiencing abuse or violence.”
The announcement comes six weeks after the Ticats hired disgraced American college coach Art Briles as an assistant, only to rescind the offer less than 24 hours later after backlash from the community and media across North America. Briles was ousted from his previous job as the head coach at Baylor after a sexual assault scandal that rocked the university.
Both Young and team CEO Scott Mitchell apologized for the hiring and promised to do more on the issue of domestic violence.