Today the NFL introduced a new component to their personal conduct policy to address acts of domestic violence committed by a player. It's a very different response than the 2 game suspension Ray Rice received for punching his, then fiancée, in the face and knocking her out cold. The new conduct policy calls for a 6 game suspension for the first offense and a lifetime ban from the league for the second offense. The policy is not limited to only domestic violence; it covers all acts of physical violence.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated,
"At times, however, and despite our best efforts,
we fall short of our goals.
We clearly did so in response to a recent incident of domestic violence ...
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."
While the circumstances that brought this issue to light, a violent assault and the NFL's limp response to the violence, both tarnished the NFL's reputation, the league has achieved a come from behind win with the new code of conduct. They've raised the bar on their expectations for conduct on and off the field, but they've also implemented prevention and early intervention strategies. They'll be talking with recruits and are supporting programs in high schools and colleges to address the issue. They're providing counseling for players if needed. And in case the message isn't clear, they're issuing a memo to all players that states,
Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong.
They are illegal.
They are never acceptable in the NFL
under any circumstances.
The NFL just scored the winning point with their game changing decision!
Athletes know kids look up to them,
and it's important for athletes to be responsible.