Embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has hired four women to help improve the league’s handling of domestic violence and other off-the-field issues that have tarnished the league’s image in recent weeks and led to calls for Goodell’s ousting.
Chief among the moves was the appointment of Anna Isaacson to the new position of vice president for social responsibility.
Isaacson, a California native and Barnard College graduate, had been the league’s vice president for community relations and philanthropy.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Goodell Announced the Move in a Letter to Teams & Players Monday
Goodell, who’s come under intense criticism for the league’s handling of the Ray Rice scandal and other domestic violence issues, announced the move in a letter to league teams and players Monday.
The move comes as former FBI director Robert Mueller III is running an investigation into the league’s handling of the Rice issue and the league’s attempts to obtain video of Rice knocking out fiancee Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February.
Goodell also announced the appointment of three female senior advisers to help shape the league’s policies toward domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Goodell hired 3 senior advisors – Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith – to shape @NFL’s domestic violence and sexual assault policies.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2014
You can read Goodell’s full letter here:
2. Isaacson Had Been the League’s VP for Community Relations & Philanthropy
Isaacson, who’s worked for the NFL since 2006, had been serving as vice president for community relations and philanthropy.
From Goodell’s letter:
Anna has devoted considerable attention to these issues in recent years and has developed strong relationships with both outside organizations and your staffs. Along with Director of Player Engagement and Education Deana Garner, Anna will lead our cross-organizational teams of employees in implementing these programs. We will work closely with your community relations, human resources and player engagement teams to implement programs in a way that is effective and beneficial for your own employees, their families and your communities. Needless to say, our entire office will be accountable for the success of these efforts and Anna and her team will have my full support.
3. She Used to Sell Souvenirs Outside Yankee Stadium
According to a January 2014 profile in the New York Post, Isaacson got her start in sports with a part-time job selling souvenirs outside the old Yankee Stadium while she was a student at Barnard. She then got a job in the merchandising department for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the short-season Single A affiliate of the New York Mets, in 2001.
“I finally realized what I wanted to do,” Isaacson told the paper. “I love sports and helping the community.”
4. Her Husband Is a Doctor at the Columbia University Medical Center
Isaacson is married to David Kovacevic, a doctor at the Columbia University Medical Center. According to his LinkedIn profile, Kovacevic is a clinical fellow at Columbia’s Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine.
Prior to taking the job at Columbia, he was an orthopaedic surgery resident at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic.
According to the couple’s wedding website, Kovacevic popped the question to Isaacson on December 30, 2012 on the beach in Miami. The couple tied the knot on August 11, 2013 and celebrated at a reception at the View on the Hudson in Piermont, New York.