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President of NOW calls for Roger Goodell to resign over handling of domestic violence incidents

The owners for whom he works may disagree, but the president of the National Organization for Women thinks Roger Goodell should resign as NFL commissioner because, under his leadership, the league has  failed to take a strong stance against domestic violence — most recently in the case of Ray Rice.

“The NFL has lost its way. It doesn’t have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem,” Terry O’Neill said in a statement (via ESPN). “… The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign, and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.”

O’Neill cited Rice, San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended by the league Monday after new video surfaced of him knocking out his then-fiancee in a casino elevator. McDonald was arrested in late August on a domestic violence charge and Hardy is appealing his July conviction on charges of assaulting his girlfriend and threatening to kill her. Jones is being sued by a former exotic dancer for sexual assault.

“The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs,” O’Neill said. “And the example it is setting right now is simply unacceptable. New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL. That’s the only way to restore honor and integrity to the country’s most lucrative and popular pastime.”

The only opinions that matter, though, are those of the men for whom Goodell works and they’ve been behind him so far.

“It’s really unfortunate and I know our commissioner has taken some heat. I just want to say that I spoke with him yesterday when this came out, not knowing what was going to happen and knowing I was coming in here and he didn’t, he had no knowledge of this video,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft told “CBS This Morning.”

“The way he’s handled this situation himself, coming out with the mea culpa in his statement a couple of weeks ago, or 10 days ago, and setting a very clear policy how we conduct ourselves in the NFL, I thought was excellent.”