The anti-domestic violence PSA which ran during Sunday's Super Bowl was not only gripping, but pulled from a real 911 call posted on Reddit by a dispatcher eight months ago.
According to USA Today, No More, an organization described as aiming to educate Americans on ending domestic violence and sexual assault, culled the call into a short spot that is at first confusing and then chilling. Here is what the dispatcher originally posted on Reddit:
"I had a call that started out pretty dumb, but was actually pretty serious:
"911, where is you emergency?"
"123 Main St."
"Ok, what's going on there?"
"I'd like to order a pizza for delivery." (oh great, another prank call).
"Ma'am, you've reached 911"
"Yeah, I know. Can I have a large with half pepperoni, half mushroom and peppers?"
"Ummm…. I'm sorry, you know you've called 911 right?"
"Yeah, do you know how long it will be?"
"Ok, Ma'am, is everything ok over there? do you have an emergency?"
"Yes, I do."
"..And you can't talk about it because there's someone in the room with you?" (moment of realization)
"Yes, that's correct. Do you know how long it will be?"
"I have an officer about a mile from your location. Are there any weapons in your house?"
"Can you stay on the phone with me?"
"Nope. See you soon, thanks"
As we dispatch the call, I check the history at the address, and see there are multiple previous domestic violence calls. The officer arrives and finds a couple, female was kind of banged up, and boyfriend was drunk. Officer arrests him after she explains that the boyfriend had been beating her for a while. I thought she was pretty clever to use that trick. Definitely one of the most memorable calls."
This seems like an effective commercial, raising awareness against domestic violence and showing the scary situations victims often find themselves in. But what about the NFL's pledge to give free, very expensive air time to this commercial from the No More organization which it's publicly partnered with to curb domestic violence?
According to Deadspin, even that great commercial isn't all it's cracked up to be:
"The donation comes from NFL's own advertising time—time it gets during the Super Bowl no matter what—which means this is essentially the league taking a brief reprieve from directly promoting itself."
Also, as writer Diana Moskovitz points out, No More isn't quite a nonprofit, nor is it made of a committee of people but rather brands, from Allstate to Verizon. No one seems to officially work there—the director Virginia Witt lists No More under volunteer work on her LinkedIn page—and the website itself, nomore.org is owned by … Kate Spade?
You should read the rest of Deadspin's investigation into whether the NFL is indeed working to stop domestic violence within its ranks and fans or just creating a lot of smoke and mirrors. Here's hoping the League stops cutting corners and actually puts its money and effort where it's publicity stunts lie. Some of their players need real help and I doubt Verizon or Kate Spade will be there to answer their needs.