NFL: We Blew It on Domestic Violence

League toughens penalties after outcry over Ray Rice case

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 28, 2014 5:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – When the NFL issued a two-game suspension to a star player who assaulted his then-fiancee, the league took much flak for treating the offense so lightly. Now, in a letter to owners, league chief Roger Goodell has issued a mea culpa, reports ESPN. "I didn't get it right," he said. "Simply put, we have to do better. And we will." From now on, players will get a six-game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second. Players in the latter camp could petition to get back in the league after a year, however.

"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 in the letter, which can be read in full at USA Today. The controversy stems from a video that shows Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice dragging his then-fiancee from an elevator. The two are now married, and the assault charges will be dismissed when Rice completes a treatment program.

In this 2013 file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell takes questions.
In this 2013 file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell takes questions.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
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