In light of the backlash that the league received after giving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice a two-game suspension for his role in a domestic violence situation, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league have developed a new system aimed at properly dealing with domestic violence cases. While appearing long overdue, both critics and supporters of the league are saying better late than never.
Instead of handling cases of domestic violence strictly on a case by case basis, players who are indeed found guilty (not necessarily in the court of law but through an adjudication process as well) of being the perpetrator in cases of domestic violence will receive a minimum six-game suspension for their first offense. If found guilty of a second offense, they will receive a lifetime ban from the league. The new penalty system is for players and all league personnel.
This new form of punishment comes after weeks of public backlash and criticism aimed at Goodell and the NFL after the league issued Ray Rice what was deemed “a slap on the wrist” of a punishment for his role in a domestic violence situation back in February. What made the league’s decision so egregious in the eyes of many is that the punishment came after video footage was released to the public of Rice dragging his then-fiancé’s limp body from an elevator. Before exiting the elevator, an altercation took place that culminated in Rice striking and knocking his now-wife unconscious.
In a long and extensive letter addressing the situation, Goodell acknowledged that he made a misstep in the handling of the Ray Rice case albeit he didn’t specifically address anything by name. While pointing out his mistake, Goodell drew out the key points to the new program that is aimed at reducing and hopefully eliminating domestic violence from the league. In all likelihood, the first execution of this new initiative will take place in the case of Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy, who is going through his own domestic violence case right now.