NFL Commissioner Stiffens League’s Policy on Domestic Violence

Roger Goodell admits he mishandled Ray Rice punishment.

Posted: 08/29/2014 12:32 AM EDT
Roger Goodell

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell heard the public’s outcry that the league’s two-game suspension of Ray Rice for his domestic violence incident was too light of a penalty.

On Thursday, the NFL commissioner tried to right his wrong, writing a passionate letter to all the league’s team owners, admitting that he dropped the ball in regards to the Baltimore Ravens running back. He also implemented more rigid rules about players who are involved in domestic violence incidents in the future.

“My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families,” Goodell wrote in the letter. “I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”

Goodell went on to inform the owners about the league's new domestic violence policy for any players involved in such incidents in the future. Simply put, a first offense means a six-game suspension without pay; a second offense spells a banishment from the league with the commissioner allowing the offender to petition for reinstatement after one year, although that would be to his discretion.

The public’s outcry for stiffer penalties involving players in domestic violence situations only grew when the league suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for the entire 2014 season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Albeit, Gordon was a repeat offender, but critics questioned the message the commissioner was sending for suspending a player, who failed drug tests for marijuana, a full year suspension while only docking Rice two games for domestic violence. 

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 (Photo: AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

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