After receiving public backlash following a controversial two-game suspension to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice following a domestic abuse arrest, the NFL has announced a revamped domestic abuse policy.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the new domestic abuse policy on Thursday which includes some serious punishment for those who violate the policy.
“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. 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,” Goodell said in a statement.
With a first offence, the player is subject to a six-game suspension.
If there is a second domestic violence offence for a player, they will receive a lifetime banishment from the league.
“Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline,” Goodell wrote in a letter to NFL owners. “A first offense will be subject to a suspension of six weeks without pay. Mitigating circumstances will be considered, and more severe discipline will be imposed if there are aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child.
“A second offense will result in banishment from the league; an offender may petition for reinstatement after one year but there is no assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary consequences apply to all NFL personnel.
“We allowed our standards to fall below where they should be and lost an important opportunity to emphasize our strong stance on a critical issue and the effective programs we have in place,” Goodell wrote. “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. 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.
“The public response reinforced my belief that the NFL is held to a higher standard, and properly so. Much of the criticism stemmed from a fundamental recognition that the NFL is a leader, that we do stand for important values, and that we can project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football. We embrace this role and the responsibility that comes with it. We will listen openly, engage our critics constructively, and seek continuous improvement in everything we do. We will use this opportunity to create a positive outcome by promoting policies of respect for women both within and outside of the workplace. We will work with nationally recognized experts to ensure that the NFL has a model policy on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will invest time and resources in training, programs and services that will become part of our culture. And we will increase the sanctions imposed on NFL personnel who violate our policies.”
The policy will have to be approved by the proper channels — including the NFLPA — before being implemented, but it is hard to imagine a scenario where the players vote against a policy that will give men the punishment they deserve for putting their hands on a woman.