Well, this is awkward. Since 2011, the NFL—no great friend to women, including the ones who work in sports media—has been a sponsor for the convention for AWSM, the Association for Women in Sports Media. How much does the NFL give? The league's last IRS tax form available online, from 2012, lists a $15,000 donation to AWSM. In 2014, the NFL was a gold sponsor, topping donations from other sports leagues like MLB and and NBA.
The 2014 announcement of the NFL as a sponsor even included a thank-you to Greg Aiello, the league's vice president of public relations, and a quote from him in response.
"We admire and respect the outstanding work that AWSM does on behalf of women in sports media. There are many women covering the NFL today and we want them to know that we recognize and support them," Aiello said.
AWSM released a statement today explaining why it will not return the NFL's money:
The Association for Women in Sports Media is a non-profit advocacy group, founded to nurture and support women who work in sports media. The NFL, along with other major leagues, the NCAA, individual conferences, newspapers, television networks and teams, have supported AWSM in this cause. But that financial support – primarily given to underwrite AWSM's annual convention and scholarships – does not come with any conditions or absolve those organizations from criticism by members of the group. In fact, our members have been and will continue to be some of the strongest voices monitoring the NFL. The donation was for a specific event – the annual convention. AWSM has no plans to return money already spent educating and mentoring our attending members. While AWSM abhors all acts of domestic violence, the group's focus is on growing, mentoring and supporting women working in sports media
AWSM's 2015 convention will be held in May in Denver. It's not clear if the NFL will be a sponsor of that event.
Image via Getty