NFL goes tough on personal conduct

Governing body of the sport endorses new policy following incidents that have affected American football's image.

    Rice, a former Baltimore Ravens star, knocked out his then-fiancee in an elevator [EPA]
    Rice, a former Baltimore Ravens star, knocked out his then-fiancee in an elevator [EPA]

    National Football League owners unanimously endorsed what they called a tougher personal conduct policy following a spate of domestic violence cases involving players that harmed the league's reputation.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell, who came under fire for mishandling punishment particularly in the Ray Rice case, will no longer make initial disciplinary rulings for off-field misdeeds. That job will fall to a new, to-be-named league officer with a criminal justice background.

    But Goodell retains a key part of his power, by hearing any appeals of disciplinary decisions made under the policy.

    The policy is comprehensive. It is strong. It is tough. And it is better for everyone associated with the NFL

    Commissioner Roger Goodell

    America's most popular sports league has struggled with a personal conduct policy widely seen as too lenient on NFL personnel accused of crimes including violence against women and a flawed disciplinary process.

    With big-money NFL sponsors and women's groups watching closely, Goodell spent four months working to strengthen the program and defuse the biggest crisis in his eight years at the helm of the NFL.

    The most high-profile case was Rice, a former Baltimore Ravens star who knocked out his then-fiancee in an elevator. Goodell gave him an initial two-game suspension, only to raise it to indefinite suspension after a video of the punch surfaced.

    Rice won his appeal of the suspension last month from an independent arbitrator who said Rice did not mislead Goodell and that the commissioner ruled arbitrarily on the tougher punishment.

    "With considerable assistance from the many people and organisations we consulted, NFL ownership has endorsed an enhanced policy that is significantly more robust, thorough, and formal," Goodell said.

    "The policy is comprehensive. It is strong. It is tough. And it is better for everyone associated with the NFL."

    The players union was not happy that it was excluded from the process in formulating the new policy.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.