NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced a new, stricter domestic violence policy in a memo to NFL owners on Thursday.
First-time offenders who are charged with domestic violence or sexual assault will be suspended for six games. Second-time offenders will be banned for life, with the option to apply for reinstatement after one year.
Goodell and the league were heavily criticised for only suspending Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games after he allegedly knocked his wife unconscious.
In a letter to owners, Goodell said of the Rice fiasco:
“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.”
Here’s the full explanation of the new disciplinary code:
“Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline. A first offence 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 offence 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.”
You can read Goodell’s full letter here:
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