DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — In light of recent criticism, the NFL is taking an aggressive stance on domestic violence.
In a letter to all 32 teams, Commissioner Roger Goodell revealed that first-time domestic violence offenders will receive a 6-game ban — at minimum. A second offense will result in a lifetime ban from the NFL.
“Effective immediately, violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to a suspension without pay of six games for a first offense, with consideration given to mitigating factors, as well as a longer suspension when circumstances warrant. Among the circumstances that would merit a more severe penalty would be a prior incident before joining the NFL, or violence involving 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 NFL; while an individual may petition for reinstatement after one year, there will be no presumption or assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary standards will apply to all NFL personnel. ” via ProFootballTalk
Commissioner Goodell took heat for suspending Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games after he was seen on surveillance video dragging his unconscious fiancee out of a hotel elevator.
In the letter, Goodell admits the suspension was a mistake.
“I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”
Critics of the league’s arbitrary policy on domestic violence were quick to point out the contrast between punishments for different offenses.
Browns receiver Josh Gordon was suspended 16 games for a positive marijuana test.
Three members of Congress wrote Goodell asking him to reconsider the punishment given to Rice.
Goodell acknowledged in the letter that NFL is “held to a higher standard, and properly so.” The league will work with nationally recognized experts to improve the NFL’s policy.
As part of the policy, the league will expand the scope of education on domestic violence and sexual assault for all players and non-players. This includes enhanced training for rookies and additional resources for all league personnel. All management will also undergo training to understand and identify risk factors.
The league will also develop outreach programs to educate the community.
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