The NFL announced on Thursday that it will institute harsher punishments for players who commit domestic violence.
In a letter to team owners, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the penalty for a first offense is a six-game ban under the personal conduct policy. Players who commit a second offense will be banned for life. ProFootballTalk tweeted that the new domestic violence policy was announced without input from the NFL Players Association. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, Goodell can "act unilaterally" on the new domestic violence punishments because it lies under the league's personal conduct policy.
The NFL was widely criticized after giving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice a two-game suspension following a domestic violence arrest during the offseason. Back in February, Rice allegedly struck his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, during an altercation in a casino elevator in Atlantic City. Surveillance footage showed him dragging a seemingly unconscious Palmer out of the elevator.
In the letter, Goodell admitted that he got the Rice punishment wrong.
"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," Goodell wrote, via USA Today Sports. "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."
Click here to read the full letter.
Before the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier in August, Goodell defended the two-game suspension for Rice, saying that it was "consistent with other cases."