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Courtesy of ESPN Dot Com

The NFL has decided to implement tougher penalties on domestic violence after backlash from the Ray Rice incident this year in which the Baltimore Ravens running back was involved in an altercation with his then-fiancee that resulted in him dragging her out of a elevator at a New Jersey casino.  Ray Rice was given a 2 game suspension initially for the altercation and public criticism spread throughout the league, media and the fans for the NFL not giving Ray Rice a tougher penalty.  The new policy is a longer suspension, 6 games without pay for the first offense and a lifetime ban for an additional offense.  Any employee of the NFL or player will be allowed to reapply for reinstatement after one year.  Commissioner Roger 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.”

Key Points Of The New Policy

• Policy applies to all incidents involving physical force, not just domestic violence

• Six-game suspension for first offense (could be longer under certain circumstances)

• Lifetime ban for second offense (can apply for reinstatement after one year)

• Policy applies to all NFL personnel, not just players

• Policy is not retroactive; everyone starts with clean slate

• Those identified as “at risk” for committing offenses offered counseling; refusal could affect future discipline

• Confidential counseling offered to all personnel and families