NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has established severe new rules for off-the-field violence, not just domestic violence. It applies to all NFL employees, not just players. It was approved by all 32 team owners and will not need to be approved by the NFL Players Association.
Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline. A first offense will be subject to a suspension of six weeks without pay. Mitigating circumstances will be considered, and more severe discipline will be imposed if there are aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of 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 league; an offender may petition for reinstatement after one year, but there is no assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary consequences apply to all NFL personnel.
How does someone commit sexual assault without it involving physical force?
So if I understand this new policy correctly, a six-week suspension is what you receive if you assault anyone, man or woman, a significant other or a complete stranger. Throw in a bit of choking or use a weapon of any kind, and the suspension will be longer. If the other party is a pregnant woman, you strike them more than once, or if a child witnesses the act of violence, the suspension will also be longer.
What triggers this new policy?
A league source told ESPN’s Andrew Brandt that discipline would be triggered by adjudication of a player’s case, such as a conviction or plea agreement.
This policy is in reaction to the incident involving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. He punched his then girlfriend, now wife, in an Atlantic City casino elevator. Rice was able to avoid trial by agreeing to a diversionary program, that once completed, will allow him to clear his record. In other words, he was never convicted of a crime. He reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that didn’t involve admitting guilt. Goodell suspended Rice for only two games, even though TMZ showed surveillance video of Rice dragging his unconscious victim, the mother of his child, from the casino elevator.
Goodell was criticized by nearly everyone for the lenient punishment.
This new policy won’t apply to Rice because it’s being enacted after his incident of domestic violence, but I’m guessing if it had, he never would have reached a pre-trial agreement with prosecutors.
He would have gone to trial. Anything less than an a full acquittal would have left him exposed to this new NFL policy.
If I were a player in the NFL, I’m be wondering right about now why I was paying dues to the NFL Players Association. If Roger Goodell can enact a policy like this without it being subject to collective bargaining, why even have a union?
Roger Goodell is the worst commissioner ever, and that’s including the lazy idiot who ran a fantasy basketball league I was a part of in the late 1990’s.