NFL makes sweeping changes to its domestic violence policy, increases punishment for violations

August 28, 2014

Janay Rice looks on as her husband Ray Rice speeks to the media. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

When the NFL doled out a two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice after he was caught on video knocking out his wife at an Atlantic City casino, the public outcry was nearly universal. Many fans — both male and female — demanded a harsher punishment, noting the current policies reflected badly on how the NFL viewed women, in general.

On Thursday, the NFL heeded the public’s concerns and instated a much harsher domestic violence policy. ESPN’s Jane McManus was one of the first to break the news:

With a mandatory six-game suspension for the first violation and a lifetime ban for a second, the league is taking a much stronger stance against domestic abuse. And the policy doesn’t just apply to players, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The public has largely been reacting positively to the new harsher penalties, but many think it’s come too late in light of Rice’s recent violation. Still others think the six-game first-time violation doesn’t go far enough. What do you think?

According to one sports law expert, NFL players were not consulted about the change and could challenge it, though one wouldn’t think they’d risk the P.R. hit.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne · August 28, 2014