In a memo sent to the owners today, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced massive new punishments for all NFL personnel—not just players—who commit domestic violence offenses. Offenders will be suspended six games for a first offense, and receive an indefinite ban for a second, with the ability to apply for reinstatement after one year.
In the letter, Goodell specifically cited the league's actions regarding Ray Rice as the motivation behind these new rules.
"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."
Pretty bold words and bold action from the notoriously conflict-averse and image-conscious Goodell. Apparently this is going in under the league's player conduct policy, meaning the NFL Players' Association can't really challenge it. Considering the league's long and ugly history involving players and domestic abuse towards NFL spouses and significant others (and the NFL is far from the only major league sport with a huge domestic violence issue) this is a long overdue move on Goodell's part.
Now he just has to fix the Josh Gordon problem. A year for weed in a league where players are wracked by chronic pain and devastating brain and spine injuries? Let's try addressing that first, Rog.