Football players get teased and shunned too.
As part of a continuing public-service campaign that typically features characters from its slate of original programs, NBCUniversal’s USA is expanding an annual effort it makes in conjunction with the National Football League to help young people who face prejudice and bullying.
For three years, USA has aired a one-hour documentary during Super Bowl weekend showing NFL players discussing personal stories of how they overcame discrimination. In the past, the program has not been sponsored, according to a spokeswoman for the network. But this time, General Motors’ GMC trucks will align itself with an expanded effort.
Starting Monday, December 2, USA Network and the National Football League will feature a weekly on-air vignette and webisode series on charactersunite.com, an extension of the previous program. The digital content will lead into the third annual showing of “NFL Characters Unite” on Friday, January 31, at 7 p.m. Eastern on USA. The documentary will be presented by GMC.
The series kicks off with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb mentoring a teen boy named Tyson who is struggling, much like Cobb did growing up, with bullying and intense peer pressure to use drugs and commit crime. The documentary, narrated by former NFL star and NBC “Sunday Night Football” g sportscaster Cris Collinsworth, will feature more in-depth stories of the players and their experiences in meeting and mentoring students. The one-hour special will serve as the launch of “Characters Unite Month,” when the network spotlights the importance of promoting greater tolerance, respect and acceptance.
NFL Characters Unite was created by The Company and is executive produced by Charlie Ebersol and produced and directed by Paul Pawlowski