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Raiders, SafeNest partner on domestic violence education

The official health care partner of the Las Vegas Raiders has pledged $500,000 to help SafeNest provide student athletes and coaches in Clark County with education about domestic and sexual violence.

“SafeNest is acting as a vital resource to community members throughout Nevada,” Mikelle Moore, Intermountain Healthcare’s senior vice president and chief community health officer, said Tuesday morning in a virtual news conference. “We’re immensely grateful for SafeNest and for the many ways they support health in the communities in which we live, work and play.”

SafeNest is Nevada’s largest, most comprehensive nonprofit dedicated to ending domestic violence.

Intermountain’s donation will help the nonprofit launch Coaching Boys Into Men and Athletes as Leaders — “two incredible programs that support important relationships between high school coaches and their athletes, and that leverages that space to have conversations of consequence, conversations that build respect for ourselves and respect for others,” said SafeNest CEO Liz Ortenburger.

The programs will run in Clark County in 2021 and 2022. To learn more, visit www.SafeNest.org.

“By helping athletes navigate the reality that violence doesn’t equal power, and power doesn’t equal violence, coaches are laying the foundation for athletes to navigate lifelong healthy relationships,” Ortenburger said Tuesday. “With the Raiders’ participation and the investment by Intermountain Healthcare, SafeNest is poised to lead this partnership and put in place the building blocks to end domestic and sexual violence in our Las Vegas community and beyond.”

As Ortenburger spoke, Marc Badain, president of the Raiders, nodded in agreement.

When it was his turn to speak, Badain acknowledged the shadow of domestic violence over the NFL, which faced a reckoning in 2014 after a video surfaced showing Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancee unconscious in an elevator. The league suspended Rice indefinitely.

Badain said domestic violence has “been something that for decades has been of paramount importance to the Raiders organization to address and to prevent.”

He continued: “When we first announced we were moving here, we knew we were going to bring this issue of importance with us, and we knew that Southern Nevada was an area that really needed some help.”

Ortenburger smiled.

“My hope is that every athletic director at every high school in the country signs up to be part of these programs,” she later said.

After all, Ortenburger noted in the news conference, as former NFL player Doug Flutie once said: “There’s nothing better than excelling at a game you love. There’s nothing worse than thinking your accomplishments as a player outweigh your responsibilities as a person.”

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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