NFL’s Roger Goodell makes drastic changes to the personal conduct policy

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to critics of the punishment of Ray Rice by making sweeping changes to the NFL personal conduct policy.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to critics of the punishment of Ray Rice by making sweeping changes to the NFL personal conduct policy.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Thursday August 28, Roger Goodell issued a letter to all the teams in the NFL notifying them of sweeping changes to the personal conduct policy. Sharing the mindset that led to the change, Goodell stated, “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. … 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”

An excerpt from the letter, reproduced below states the particulars of the changes:

MEMORANDUM TO ALL NFL PERSONNEL

“Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances.

Our Personal Conduct Policy has long made clear that domestic violence and sexual assault are unacceptable. We clearly must do a better job of addressing these incidents in the NFL. And we will. Earlier today, I sent NFL owners a letter that identified specific actions we will take to improve our response to domestic violence and sexual assault.

Goodell's (r) changes  are a clear indication that the public outcry from the punishment levied against Ray Rice (l) have changed the way he wants to punish players in the future.

Goodell’s (r) changes are a clear indication that the public outcry from the punishment levied against Ray Rice (l) have changed the way he wants to punish players in the future.

Those actions include the following:

• All NFL Personnel will participate in new and enhanced educational programs on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will also increase our outreach to college and youth football programs.

• Families will receive detailed information about available services and resources, both through the club and independent of the club. These resources and services will be available to employees and their families on a confidential basis.

• 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.”

Goodell did not hold a press conference to address some potential questions stemming from the drastic changes. The NFL Players Association declined to comment at this time, choosing to reserve judgement until a later date. Some questions that stand out about the policy changes are:

What will be the penalty for NFL personnel who do not play games under this policy change?

Would Ray Rice have received a different penalty under this policy change or will his punishment be amended retroactively to incorporate the new policy?

If the second offense is worthy of a lifetime ban, then why is the first offense 6 games? Why not longer?

These questions and others will likely be posed to commissioner Goodell in the near future.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

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