NEW YORK — Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl.
At a news conference Sept. 19, Goodell made his first public statements in more than a week about the rash of NFL players involved in domestic violence. He did not announce any specific changes, but said he has not considered resigning.
“Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong,” he said. “That starts with me.”
The league has faced increasing criticism that it has not acted quickly or emphatically enough concerning the domestic abuse cases. The Commissioner reiterated that he botched the handling of the Ray Rice case.
“The same mistakes can never be repeated,” he said. Goodell now oversees all personal conduct cases, deciding guilt and penalties.
The Commissioner and some NFL teams have been heavily criticized for lenient or delayed punishment of Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players involved in recent domestic violence cases. Less than three weeks into the season, five such cases have made headlines, the others involving Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer.
Vikings star running back Peterson, Carolina defensive end Hardy and Arizona running back Dwyer are on a Special Commissioner’s Exemption List and are being paid while they go through the legal process. McDonald, a defensive end for San Francisco, continues to practice and play while being investigated on suspicion of domestic violence.
As these cases have come to light, such groups as the National Organization of Women and league partners and sponsors have come down hard on the NFL to be more responsive in dealing with them. Congress also is watching to see how the NFL reacts.
In response to the criticism, the NFL announced it is partnering with a domestic violence hotline and a sexual violence resource center.
Goodell also said in a memo to the clubs that within the next 30 days, all NFL and team personnel will participate in education sessions on domestic violence and sexual assault.
The memo said the league will work with the union in providing the “information and tools to understand and recognize domestic violence and sexual assault.”
The league will provide financial, operational and promotional support to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
(BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer)