Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

We’re Not Allowed At A Talk By The NFL’s Domestic Violence Expert

Illustration for article titled We’re Not Allowed At A Talk By The NFL’s Domestic Violence Expert

Last week, Deadspin published a transcript of Greg Hardy’s NFL hearing, wherein a panel of NFL representatives equipped with the CBA rulebook and court transcripts reviewed the domestic violence charges brought against the current Cowboys defensive end by his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder. One of the people on this disciplinary panel, Lisa Friel, was then an outside investigator and senior advisor to the league, and is routinely brought in to consult on cases that involve sexual or domestic abuse within the NFL. Previously, she was the head of the sex crime prosecutors for the New York District Attorney’s office. Currently, she acts as Vice President and special counsel to the NFL, and is employed by Roger Goodell.


Friel has had her hands on high-profile cases in the NFL for a few years now. After the league was faced with both Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice scandals in 2014, Friel became part of a team of four women instated to the NFL to help combat domestic violence problems within the organization. Since then she has seen a promotion, though her effectiveness on the topic has left something to be desired by those who want to see wiser handling of these cases. (The Hardy hearing transcripts, for example, show that Friel remained silent when the line of questioning directed at Hardy was focused on the physical abuse sustained by Holder.)

That said, when we saw that the lawyer would be speaking at an event at a local high school boldly titled, “Crime Fighting and the NFL: Addressing Domestic Violence and Sexual Misconduct,” we obviously registered to attend. The event was listed as open to the public, and is hosted by the Regis Bar Association—an organization that links the elite, all-boys school’s alumni with students interested in pursuing a career in law. We paid the $20 admission fee last Wednesday, and got a friendly confirmation email.

From: Regis High School Events

Date: Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 5:44 PM

Subject: The RBA Presents - Lisa Friel Acknowledgement

Thank you for registering! The advancements we have made can be attributed in many ways to people like you who have generously supported our mission.

Please print and keep this letter as a confirmation of your registration.

This morning, however, we received an email from the school’s Director of Alumni Relations, asking us to explain how we had heard about the event.

From: Catapano, Vincent

Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 10:27 AM

Subject: Regis High School Speaker: Lisa Friel

Hello- Thank you for registering for the Regis High School speaker series and our guest speaker Lisa Friel tomorrow evening. In order for us to better track where our non-Regis affiliated participants are coming from and how they heard about our event would you please share how you heard about our event. I thank you in advance for sharing this information as it will help us plan future events and also look at ways to increase our reach to a broader community as we expand our speaker series in the coming months. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Before we had figured out a way to reply, we received another email, this time from the educational-institution-for-real-teenagers’ Director of Communication, who told us that the event was now only open to “members of the Regis community” and closed to the media.

From: Hein, Thomas

Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 1:19 PM

Subject: Event Closed

Thank you for your interest in our upcoming event with Lisa Friel P’08. Unfortunately, this Regis Bar Association event is only open to members of the Regis community and is also closed to the media. We will refund your registration fee, and apologize for the confusion. Thank you for understanding and respecting our event policy.

We sent an email to both Thomas and Catapano asking for further information about why our tickets were refunded, and received the following response from Catapano:

From: Catapano, Vincent

Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 4:33 PM

Subject: RE: Event Closed

Thank you for your email. This event was intended for the members of the Regis community and as per school regulations no outside media are permitted to attend. Due to the fact that you have clear connections to multiple media organizations we unfortunately must refund your admission and cancel your ticket. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.


Within an hour after our first reply from Catapano, the event listing’s webpage had also been modified. Where it previously had no limit on who could register for the event, the site now has an additional note “**This Regis Bar Association event is only open to members of the Regis community and is closed to the media.”

If you are a student at Regis High School and successfully attend this lecture for teens, please let us know how it goes.


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