This afternoon the NFL attempted to fight back against one of its biggest reputation challenges by issuing stricter punishments for domestic violence among players.
The NFL announced sweeping new measures on domestic violence in a letter to owners today; Six games for 1st offense, lifetime ban for 2nd.
— Jane McManus (@janesports) August 28, 2014
Will this move pay off? Some details from commissioner Roger Goodell‘s letter to team owners after the jump.
“Since becoming Commissioner, my focus has been on ensuring that the NFL is held in the highest regard by our fans, players, business partners, and public authorities.
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.
Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”
(He means the Ray Rice incident.)
“Much of the criticism stemmed from a fundamental recognition that the NFL is a leader, that we do stand for important values, and that we can project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football. We embrace this role and the responsibility that comes with it.”
Goodell then makes some obvious statements about how wrong domestic violence is before getting to the point:
“First, we will continue our work with leading experts to expand the scope of our education on domestic violence and sexual assault for all NFL personnel – players and non-players.
Second, our club Player Engagement Directors, Human Resource Executives, and other appropriate team personnel will undergo comprehensive training to help them understand and identify risk factors associated with domestic violence and sexual assault.
Third, we will ensure that the NFL LifeLine and NFL Total Wellness Program are staffed with personnel trained to provide prompt and confidential assistance to anyone at risk of domestic violence or sexual assault – whether as a victim or potential aggressor.
Fourth…we will expand the educational components in our college, high school and youth football programs that address domestic violence and sexual assault.
Fifth…we will explore meaningful ways to incorporate domestic violence and sexual assault awareness and prevention into our public service work.”
And here’s the kicker:
“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.
Among the circumstances that would merit a more severe penalty would be a prior incident before joining the NFL, or violence involving a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child. 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.”
So McManus’s tweet basically summed it up. Will this help the NFL improve its reputation as the worst kind of boys’ club? And how much does that matter?
Read the full letter via ESPN’s Adam Schefter here.