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Senators to NFL and Ravens: Punish Ray Rice more

(Gail Burton/AP)

The day before the U.S. Senate adjourned for their annual summer recess, they rushed to get a few last words in on pressing issues such as national security, immigration and… Ray Rice’s two-game suspension? Yes.

A group of senators addressed letters to Commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome on Thursday, calling for a harsher punishment on Ravens running back Ray Rice, the Huffington Post reports. The NFL suspended Rice for two games in connection to domestic abuse charges.

“The decision to suspend Mr. Rice for a mere two games sends the inescapable message that the NFL does not take domestic or intimate-partner violence with the seriousness they deserve,” Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote in the letter (via Huffington Post). They continued:

“Mr. Rice’s suspension reflects a disturbingly lenient, even cavalier attitude towards violence against women. We therefore urge you to take two steps immediately. First, reconsider and revise Mr. Rice’s suspension to more adequately reflect the seriousness of his offense. …

Second, as it has done regarding drug offenses, the NFL must develop procedures to ensure that allegations and evidence of domestic violence are addressed appropriately. … We note that the NFL’s ‘Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse’ provides for a flat penalty of a four-game suspension (and up to a year’s suspension for repeated violations) for offenses that include ‘fail[ure] to cooperate with testing, treatment, evaluation or other requirements [or] a Positive Test.’ Similarly, standardized procedures and levels of discipline should be applied to incidents of domestics violence, which by many measures constitute a far more serious offense.”

This is not the first time Congress has advised the NFL on league matters. The governing body has also weighed in on the Washington Redskins’ name, as well as the treatment of concussions by the NFL.

Read the full letter to Goodell here:

Blumenthal Baldwin Murphy to Goodell

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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