In the wake of Ray Rice‘s two-game suspension as a result of a domestic abuse incident with his then-fiancée, and the backlash to that decision, the NFL has announced a new policy on domestic violence, reports Jane McManus of ESPN.com. According to McManus (via Twitter), the league sent out a letter to owners today, indicating that violating the NFL’s new domestic policy would result in a six-game penalty for a first offense, with a second offense resulting in a lifetime ban.
Within the letter to owners, commissioner Roger Goodell admits that he “didn’t get it right” when he suspended Rice for just two games, tweets McManus. The disparity between Rice’s two-game ban and the year-long suspension for Josh Gordon, who failed a marijuana test, existed in large part because the NFL didn’t have a specific policy in place for incidents of domestic violence. The new measures provide a clearer guideline for what sort of punishment can be expected for players involved in domestic incidents.
The new disciplinary consequences, which apply to all league personnel rather than just players (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com), don’t require the NFLPA’s approval, since they fall under the personal conduct umbrella, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. As our Dallas Robinson wrote earlier this month, when it was reported that the league was looking to institute harsher penalties for domestic violence, it would have been hard to imagine the NFLPA opposing a policy that increases the consequences for abusers.
According to the NFL’s announcement, the penalty for first-time offenders could be more than six games, depending on “mitigating factors.” As McManus tweets, any second-time offender who received a lifetime ban could attempt to apply for reinstatement.
We heard just a couple weeks ago that the NFL was seeking the input of outside groups with expertise on the issue of domestic violence in the hopes of unveiling a revamped program dedicated to the issue, which would focus on “everything from education, training, assistance and enhanced discipline.” The league didn’t waste much time in instituting that new program.