A few clouds

Winnipeg, MB

17°c A few clouds

Full Forecast

World

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Goodell says he 'didn't get it right' on Rice, announces new penalties for domestic violence

Posted: 08/28/2014 2:42 PM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 08/28/2014 3:40 PM

Advertisement

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Acknowledging he "didn't get it right" with a two-game suspension for Ravens running back Ray Rice, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced tougher penalties for players accused of domestic violence, including six weeks for a first offence and at least a year for a second.

In a letter and memo sent to all 32 teams owners Thursday, and obtained by The Associated Press, Goodell never mentions Rice by name but makes clear references to the Baltimore player who allegedly hit the woman who is now his wife.

Goodell told teams to distribute his memo to all players on their rosters and to post it in locker rooms. It reads in part: "Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances."

The memo says that violations of the league's personal conduct policy "regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline."

The NFL Players Association said it had been informed of the increased punishments.

"As we do in all disciplinary matters, if we believe that players' due process rights are infringed upon during the course of discipline, we will assert and defend our members' rights," the union statement said.

The personal conduct policy is not subject to collective bargaining with the players' union, and the commissioner has leeway to impose punishments for such off-field violations.

An initial domestic violence offence will draw a six-week ban without pay, although the memo says "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, but a player will be allowed to petition for reinstatement after a year.

"There is no assurance that the petition will be granted," the memo says.

The punishment for Rice drew plenty of attention, including from Congress. Numerous groups that advocate for women and families criticized the penalty as too lenient.

Rice's suspension begins Saturday, about six months after grainy video showed him dragging his then-fiancee off a casino elevator. Rice has never said exactly what happened in the elevator; he has said his actions were "totally inexcusable."

"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," Goodell wrote. "I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will."

Goodell's letter notes other steps the league will take to "strengthen our policies on domestic violence and sexual assault," including efforts to educate all NFL employees on the subject.

___

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.