Some long-overdue information on the Nashville Predators’ involvement in the fight against sexual assault and domestic violence:
I recently spoke separately with Predators President/CEO Sean Henry and Tracy DeTomasi, VP of Domestic Violence Services for MEND, an offshoot of YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee that describes itself as “an innovative, primary prevention initiative dedicated to ending violence against women and girls by engaging men and boys.” Both Henry and DiTomasi spoke proudly of the Predators’ affiliation with MEND, which according to DiTomasi goes back roughly three-plus years. Henry also serves on MEND’s advisory committee.
It’s a little tough to get the full scope of the partnership – neither organization seems to have an easily-accessible rundown of all of their interactions and collaborations – but here are the 2017 highlights, gathered with the invaluable help of Tomas Oppolzer:
• On January 25 the Predators pledged a total of $500K over five years to MEND. According to DiTomasi, the Predators are MEND’s biggest financial supporter in Nashville.
• On January 26 the Predators hosted a MEND night vs. the Blue Jackets. Tickets to the game were discounted and they raised funds for MEND throughout the night. “Unsilence the Violence” PSAs featuring Mike Fisher, P.K. Subban, Austin Watson and Ryan Ellis played in the arena throughout the night.
• On May 26 the Predators hosted “The MEND Experience,” which per Nashville PRIDE sounds like a pretty fantastic event: “More than 300 educators, coaches and community leaders packed into the Bridgestone Arena concourse on May 26 for the first ‘MEND Experience’ sponsored by Bank of America. The MEND Experience focused on teaching healthy masculinity to those who work with Nashville’s youth and celebrated those who are making an impact in their lives.”
These are powerful, meaningful actions that should have a real impact in and around Nashville. Henry said the ongoing relationship between the Predators and MEND is the most extensive of its kind in all of sports; while it’s impossible to document that, I have no reason to doubt him. In any case, it’s nothing short of remarkable.
(I struggled a bit with how to write this one because the Predators are a problematic organization. Ultimately I decided to limit this post just to their anti-sa/dv efforts; as Henry noted in our conversation, true positive action deserves to be viewed on its own merit. Today is for focusing on the good work the team is doing.)