Controversy surrounding domestic and family violence within the NFL has reached a boiling point as women’s advocacy groups are criticizing the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases and even calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign.
This backlash continues even despite the league’s newly enacted domestic violence policies, which impose a mandatory six-game suspension without pay for the first domestic offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense.
“There are questions about accountability the NFL must consider,” said Kim Susun, executive director of the West Contra Costa Justice Center. “They must consider (that) their obligation is as an employer and how the actions of these players’ are impacting the organization,” she said.
On Monday, Goodell sent a memo to the NFL teams announcing he will work with four female advisors to create and implement the league’s policies, resources and outreach on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The committee will include Anna Isaacson, the league’s vice president of community affairs and philanthropy; Lisa Friel, former head of the sex crimes prosecution unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office; Jane Randel, the co-founder of NO MORE, which aims to “raise the profile of and normalize the conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault”; and Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The committee comes months after Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s was arrested and charged for assaulting his then-fiancée in February, three weeks after San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald’s arrest for allegedly assaulting his pregnant fiancée and days following Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson charge for child abuse.
Immediately following being charged, Peterson was deactivated from playing, but has since been reactivated and is expected to play this weekend, amid new accusations that he injured another one of his children in 2013 while disciplining him in a car.
Rice has been suspended indefinitely, while McDonald, who is still under investigation, continues to play.
All eyes are on the NFL to see how the newly-adopted domestic violence policy will impact these cases.