Five players with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been recruited by the province to speak out against domestic violence.
Offensive tackle Glen January, long-snapper Chris Cvetkovic, wide receiver Corey Watson, right tackle Andre Douglas and defensive lineman Jason Vega appear in the province's new Break the Silence public-awareness campaign to inspire Manitobans to speak out against domestic violence.
January said the Bombers hand-picked the five because of their community involvement.
"We're not afraid to step up there and put our name on a campaign that we believe in," he said. "Unfortunately, a lot of this stuff goes on behind closed doors and we feel we're in a position to get the message out to a broader audience."
Family Services Minister Jennifer Howard also said the Bombers' participation means the fight against domestic violence will reach a whole new audience.
"You can do a much better job than we can do talking to other men and boys about how we end violence against women," Howard told the five players.
Marlene Bertrand, chairwoman of the province's women's advisory council, agreed.
"We could stand up and say the same message over and over again and people wouldn't tune in or they would turn us off," Bertrand said. "These folks are heroes in our sports world and men will listen to them."
The Bombers are the second CFL team to get involved in such a media campaign. The B.C. Lions launched the Be More Than a Bystander campaign in July 2011.
The province also released it five-year domestic-violence-prevention strategy to mark November as Domestic Violence Prevention Month. It includes spending more than $1 million in capital improvements to shelters and other family-violence facilities the province owns, working with aboriginal communities on new ways to address domestic violence and funding A Woman's Place to hire a lawyer to help women affected by domestic violence with their legal matters, such as collecting outstanding support payments.
More information about the Break the Silence campaign is at www.manitoba.ca/stoptheviolence .