NFL plans to use virtual reality for diversity training

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In 2015, the NFL began to fully embrace the use of virtual reality as a training tool for football. The league office now plans to expands the educational reach of VR beyond the football field.

Via Marco della Cava of USA Today, the NFL is currently exploring how to use virtual reality to train employees on how to understand harassment and discrimination.

“VR can deliver on real social issues that allow people to be better,” NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent told USA Today. “We’ll start using this as another teaching tool later this year. We want to be known as the best place to work.”

The NFL is working with STRIVR labs to develop the application of virtual reality beyond the field.

“Feeling prejudice by walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is what VR was made for,” said Jeremy Bailenson, who cofounded STRIVR labs with former NFL quarterback Trent Edwards and former Stanford kicker Derek Belch.

Typically, diversity and harassment training in any workplace entails watching videos or hearing from H.R. staff and/or lawyers about a long list of things that can and can’t be said and done in the workplace. An immersive experience that allows a person wearing a VR headset to experience bias, prejudice, and/or harassment from the perspective of the victim would be far more effective than sitting and listening to someone go on and on about hostile work environments and do’s and don’t’s during job interviews and the line between appropriate jokes and the kind of statements that will get the company an unwanted field trip to the courthouse.

9 responses to “NFL plans to use virtual reality for diversity training

  1. So the political correctness police are going hi-tech?

    I hope they set this one up: A man watches as his eight year old daughter walk into a public women’s restroom. A minute later, a 300 pound man (who happens to self identify as a woman) enters the same restroom.

    I cannot wait to hear how the almighty NFL decides what the “right” thing the father should do in that situation.

  2. They should use the Michael Scott diversity training video from the office. I’m sure it would be more useful than this.

  3. “Diversity is an old wooden warship used during the Civil war era.” Ron Burgundy

  4. I know as soon as I heard about VR technology, the first exciting application I thought of was diversity training! I am so pumped for the next HR meeting.

  5. Serious – they need virtual reality to teach supposedly grown men to treat people how they would like to be treated?

    Perhaps, they should just give all the players the book, “Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ and have daily rookie meetings where they read a chapter together.

  6. Here’s the problem…Troy Vincent thinks he has been anointed by tony dungy to solve the social problems of America. Problem is, he is the evp of football ops, not social change. Troy has now hired over a dozen minorities and not one single white person. He thinks that it is his duty to be an advocate for social change. So people like Kim fields get fired, and she is a divorced woman who got kicked out of the same department twice, a club, and another NFL dept which subsequently hates her still years after she left. Her greatest strength is taking advantage of the fact the the NFL is desperate to have women in leadership positions, even if they are grossly unqualified for the job. So they made up a phony title for her and then promoted her for pretending to be busy.
    Why does Troy even push this? This isn’t the goal of football ops. Why does Troy spend millions of dollars on a website when the NFL already has the same info? Because his yes men are afraid to tell the emperor he isn’t wearing any clothes
    The NFL does need virtual reality. They have the real deal. Try being a white guy working for Troy. That should be a reality show.

  7. Someone should tell emperor Troy that if you hire only blacks – the count is up to about 11 now, that he has the least diverse dept in the office. Hiring only blacks is just as racist as only hiring whites. This has lawsuit written all over it, especially since his “chosen” hires don’t even have real jobs. Buzzwords are not a sign of intelligence.
    Focus on football ops, not virtual reality. Focus on football ops, not some multi million dollar incomplete website that we are already have a pr dept for. Stop surrounding you self with yes men. That is not diversity at all. Stop retweetin tony dungy quotes. Start leading. It’s probably too late. Or soon you will end up the AD of some historically black college. Don’t forget you are football ops. Not the Jackie Robinson of NFL HR. CAn you see the forest? It’s right there. If you can’t, you can have your strategy officer, your Sr vp of club services, and ur vp of business delopment show it to you. But I would bet that they would NEVER disagree with your lack of genius, since they can’t see it themselves. Can’t wait to see how this group fails again. It will be someone else’s fault though…

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