NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has implemented a six-game suspension for NFL personnel who are charged with domestic violence or sexual assault and banishment from the league after a second offense, effective immediately.
According to a memo obtained by ESPN that was send from the commissioner to all NFL owners:
If someone is charged with domestic violence or sexual assault, there will be a mandatory evaluation and, where professionally indicated, counseling or other specialized services. Effective immediately, violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to a suspension without pay of six games for a first offense, with consideration given to mitigating factors, as well as a longer suspension when circumstances warrant.
A second offense will result in banishment from the NFL; while an individual may petition for reinstatement after one year, there will be no presumption or assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary standards will apply to all NFL personnel.
The recent changes come following harsh criticism the league received for its handling of the domestic violence situation between Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, at an Atlantic City casino in February.
Rice was arrested after knocking Palmer out in an elevator. After the incident, the NFL gave Rice a two-game suspension.
Goodell indirectly addressed the Rice situation by saying:
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. 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. 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.
( Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals. )