NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced revisions to the league’s personal conduct policy and enhanced training and family support programs for all personnel. For the first domestic violence or sexual assault incident, standard penalties of an unpaid six-game suspension will be applied. If there is a second offense, players will face banishment from the NFL.
This announcement comes as a response to the public outrage surrounding the incident when Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice got only a two-game suspension for allegedly striking the woman to whom he is now married.
Goodell has called domestic violence and sexual assault unacceptable, and says the NFL will be focusing on the need for respect throughout its operations. He promised that he and the league will handle such incidents better than they handled the Rice event. Goodell also said this new program will show that “the NFL is a leader,” standing for important values and projecting them in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football.
The commissioner has noted that there could be flexibility when imposing the six-game suspension, but there could also be an increased penalty for a first offense in certain circumstances. Some instances that could lead to a more severe penalty include a prior incident before joining the NFL, violence involving a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or an act committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child.
If an individual is banned from the NFL, he may apply for reinstatement after one year, but there is not guarantee that his petition will be granted.
The NFL will be working with nationally recognized experts to ensure that it has a model policy on domestic violence and Fair Oaks sexual assault. The commissioner and the league hope intend to promote the NFL’s new policies of respect for women both in and outside of the workplace.
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