Weeks after a second video of former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice assaulting his wife in an Atlantic City hotel surfaced, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared before a crowd of reporters for a press conference to address his poor handling of the situation, and detail his plans to change the way the league deals with similar incidents in the future.
During the conference held this afternoon, Commissioner Goodell apologized for dropping the ball in this case and many others.
“At our best the NFL sets an example that makes a positive difference,” Goodell began. “Unfortunately over the past several weeks we’ve seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong. That starts with me.”
“I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process I led, to the decisions that I reached. But now I will get it right,” he said.
Goodell also claims the disciplinary standards previously held by the NFL were not sufficient, something that he realized after the fact. Goodell promised that a former FBI investigator, hand-picked by him, would lead an investigation into league policies and procedures and would have “full cooperation and access.” He added that “any shortcomings he finds will lead to swift action. The same mistakes can never be repeated.”
Moving forward, Goodell says everyone employed by the NFL will participate in special training sessions “developed by a top group of experts” in an effort to better prepare them for challenges such as domestic and child abuse, illegal use of firearms, and the use of drugs and alcohol. His statement claims players will be held to a “higher standard” of personal conduct than ever before. Though he acknowledged the NFL could not solve all issues surrounding domestic violence on their own, he is hoping these new policies will lead to a decline in such incidents.
While addressing the sea of reporters, Goodell revealed the NFL’s new partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. He hopes this partnership will help victims of such abuse come forward so they can move on with their lives in a healthy way and offenders can be properly dealt with.
Still, Goodell insisted the league never saw the surveillance video showing Rice punch his then-fiancée until it went up on TMZ just a few weeks ago. He did, however, acknowledge the league’s inconsistent policies, which allow some players to continue taking the field while being investigated for domestic violence, and leaves others indefinitely benched, citing it as one of the reasons the NFL’s rules and regulations need to be revamped.
Throughout his statement, Goodell remained apologetic saying, “I let myself down, I let everyone else down, and for that I’m sorry.”
To close, he opened the floor for discussion, fielding questions from reporters. It was during this time Goodell revealed that he never once considered resigning from his position.
The discussion was abruptly interrupted when an audience member jumped up, yelling and screaming. As he was being removed, the man yelled, “don’t put me in the elevator!”