NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has apologized for the way he handled Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s punishment in the wake of Rice’s domestic violence case. The commissioner also enacted strict new punishments for future offenders.
“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 an open letter Thursday. “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.”
Earlier this summer Goodell announced Rice would be suspended two games and fined an additional game check after Rice was charged following an incident with his now-wife, Janay. Ray and Janay Rice entered a pretrial intervention program in May, the NFL said. Under the program, he won’t be prosecuted, and the charges will be expunged after a year, the league said.
As for future domestic violence offenders, Goodell announced players and NFL staff who violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault would be suspended six games for the first offense and face a one year banishment from the NFL for a second offense.
Goodell said after the year’s banishment, the player for NFL staff members could petition for reinstatement, but “there will be no presumption or assurance that the petition will be granted.”
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