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NFL announces harsher punishments for domestic violence

"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," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to NFL owners.
By Aileen Graef   |   Aug. 28, 2014 at 4:48 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The National Football League (NFL) announced sweeping changes to its policy regarding domestic violence Thursday in the wake of public criticism.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, In a letter to NFL owners, admitted to current code's failings and said new punishments will be put in place.

The new standards require that any player accused of domestic violence will face a 6-game suspension on the first offense, barring any "mitigating" circumstances and a lifetime ban on the second.

The change comes after the wave of public criticism following the NFL's decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice for only two games after evidence surfaced that he beat his wife. The scrutiny was only intensified when Josh Gordon was given a harsher punishment for drug offenses. Goodell said the current policy fails to meet the League's standards and the NFL must "do better."

"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."

ESPN reporter Adam Schefter posted the communication on Facebook.

Follow @AileenGraef and @UPI on Twitter.
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