Report: NFL considering tougher penalties for domestic violence cases

NFL players who commit acts of domestic violence soon could face tougher penalties, including a possible one-year ban, The Washington Post reports

The proposed new policy would set suspensions of four to six games without pay for a first offense, and could include a season-long suspension for a second incident, the report states. 

The potential changes come in the wake of the NFL’s highly-criticized decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice just two games after he was arrested and charged with assaulting his fiancee. 

Leaked security camera video showed Rice dragging his fiancee, Janay Palmer, from an Atlantic City hotel elevator in February. Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree aggravated assault charge and avoided trial after agreeing to take part in a pretrial intervention program. Palmer, who also was arrested, married Rice in March.

Rice apologized at training camp, calling his actions "totally inexcusable," and was suspended without pay and fined an additional game check based on his salary from last season. He is expected to lose about $529,000 from the two-game suspension. 

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An onlline petition at change.org calling for stricter penalities for players who commit domestic violence has generated thousands of signatures

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defended Rice’s suspension.

"We’ve dealt with it in a serious manner, and we’re very confident that this young man understands where he is and what he needs to do going forward," Goodell said. "I think what’s important here is Ray has taken responsibility for this. He’s been accountable for his actions. He recognizes he made a horrible mistake that is unacceptable by his standards, by our standards. And he’s got to work to reestablish himself."

Goodell also said the suspension had to be "consistent with other cases."

"We just can’t make up the discipline," Goodell said.

Rice will miss the Ravens’ season opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 7 and the Sept. 11 game against Pittsburgh.

The NFL declined to comment to The Washington Post on the proposed changes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.