In light of the situation involving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and subsequent outrage over his two-game suspension, the NFL has announced a much stronger policy for domestic violence and sexual assault.
According to Jane McManus of ESPNNewYork.com, citing a letter sent to all 32 NFL owners, offenders will receive a six-game suspension for the first offense and lifetime banishment for the second offense.
Goodell has been looking to adopt a domestic violence policy in light of the response to his suspension for Rice. Mark Maske of The Washington Post reported on Aug. 13 that one idea being discussed was a season-long ban:
The prospective new policy, if it is implemented, could establish guidelines for a suspension of four to six games without pay for a first offense and potentially a season-long suspension for a second incident, according to those with knowledge of the matter. They spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic and because no final decision has been made by the league on implementing the policy.
Based on the new policy that is being implemented, Goodell and the league decided to take things even further than just a season-long suspension for both domestic violence and sexual assault.
This is Goodell’s attempt to make good for a previous situation that, by his own admission, was botched. He had an opportunity to send a stern message to everyone that the NFL takes domestic violence and sexual assault seriously.
Rice’s punishment was the same number of games as Washington safety Brandon Meriweather recently received for multiple helmet-to-helmet hits. It’s not exactly severe discipline for a serious situation.
While this amendment to the league’s policy doesn’t change what happened before, it is a positive sign that Goodell realized the error of his ways, admitted it and has taken the steps to make sure a system is in place that more accurately reflects the severity of domestic violence and sexual assault.