MEDFORD, Ore. — Rival Medford football teams are working together to raise awareness for domestic violence.
North and South Medford High set aside their competition for a brief moment before Friday night’s game to sign a pledge saying they will “neither accept nor demonstrate domestic violence.”
In addition to that pledge, each team wore a logo on their helmets with a saying “what you tolerate, you encourage.”
“I feel like it’s going to give us something to play for in a way, because we’ll be wearing that sticker on our helmet,” said South Medford player Jahan Kahusi.
The idea for the pledge came from Klamath Falls, which earlier this month held a rally to raise awareness for the issue. Players from Henley, Mazama, and Klamath Union High Schools walked in that march. They later worked with community leaders to design the logo, and challenged other schools in the area to participate.
Coaches in Medford say it was a no-brainer to take part, given the recent controversy caused by Ray Rice and other professional players.
“The NFL has caused a lot of talk, it’s in the media a lot,” said North Medford coach Mike Mitchell. “I think it’s good because it’s going to get an awareness that needs to be out there.”
Saint Mary’s also agreed to hop on board, wearing the logo and signing the pledge during Saturday night’s game.
Meanwhile the message is reaching the college level. University of Oregon athletics officials say they’ve heard of the initiative, but haven’t said whether or not they’ll participate.
But players in Southern Oregon say, regardless of how far the movement goes, just wearing the small logo makes them feel that much better going out onto the field.
“Whichever way the game goes, we’re still helping a good cause,” said North Medford running back Nick Janakes.
This is the second cause North and South Medford High Schools have supported this season. They also added logos to their helmets in support of breast cancer awareness.