NEW YORK — Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl.
Goodell was short on specifics at a news conference Friday, his first public statements in more than a week about the rash of NFL players involved in domestic violence cases. More defiant than contrite as he was hammered with questions, Goodell said he has not considered resigning.
“Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong,” he said in his opening statement. “That starts with me.”
Goodell said he would meet with NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith next week, and they would work with outside experts to evaluate the league’s policies.
Among the areas that will be examined is Goodell’s role in discipline. The commissioner now oversees all personal conduct cases, deciding guilt and penalties. He will establish a conduct committee to review NFL personal conduct, seeking experts in the area of domestic abuse and violence to serve on it. Goodell’s role with such a committee was not directly addressed.
One of the key questions is how to balance the league’s desire to take a stance against violent acts with the due process of the legal system. Goodell indicated the league is considering becoming “engaged” in the investigation process while law enforcement is still handling its probes.
Goodell reiterated Friday that he didn’t believe anybody at the NFL had seen the video before it was published by TMZ. The Associated Press reported last week that a law enforcement official says he sent the video to a league executive five months ago.
The NFL asked former FBI director Robert Mueller to conduct an investigation into the league’s handling of the Rice case. The law firm where Mueller is now a partner, WilmerHale, has connections to the NFL. Goodell insisted Friday that it wasn’t a conflict of interest because Mueller himself has not previously worked with the league.
In a memo to the clubs late Thursday, Goodell said that within the next 30 days, all NFL and team personnel will participate in education sessions on domestic violence and sexual assault. The memo said the league will work with the union in providing the “information and tools to understand and recognize domestic violence and sexual assault.”
The league will provide financial, operational and promotional support to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Photo via Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports Images
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