National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terry O’Neill joined FOX SPORTS LIVE for a satellite interview Wednesday evening on FOX SPORTS 1. The leader and spokesperson for one of the largest and most influential women’s rights groups in the United States, O’Neill released a statement earlier Wednesday, calling for the resignation of National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell.
In the interview with host Jay Onrait, O’Neill reiterated those sentiments, emphasizing the need for major domestic violence policy and punishment reform in the NFL.
O’Neill, on big-picture domestic violence issues that have plagued the NFL during Goodell’s tenure as Commissioner:
“We believe that the NFL does not have Ray Rice problem, the NFL has a violence against women problem. It is much broader and much deeper than the Ray Rice scandal. If there is any good to come out of what Ray Rice did, it is that this issue has come to the fore in a very big way. But on Roger Goodell’s watch, over 50 incidents of domestic violence have taken place, serious enough to where charges were filed and almost all of them, he swept under the rug. Roger Goodell has a huge problem on his hands and he is not the person who can now credibly lead change. The NFL needs deep-rooted change and Roger Goodell is a huge part of the problem; he is not going to be part of the solution.”
On steps the NFL could take to help find a solution for the problem, even if Goodell remains in his current position:
“I think that as long as the owners of the NFL teams maintain Roger Goodell in office, they are again participating in part of the problem; he really needs to go. We also do think that his successor must appoint a fully-independent investigator who will be completely empowered to investigate all of the incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking within the NFL community. What we want, is for the investigator to try to unpack exactly what it is that is making the NFL such a propagator or an organization that fosters violence against women. That needs to be unpacked and a fully-independent and fully-empowered investigator could do that and this investigator has to have the authority to make recommendations for real change and know that those recommendations will be implemented. None of this is going to happen under Roger Goodell’s leadership.”
On the NFL appointing former FBI director Robert S. Mueller to conduct an independent investigation of the Rice controversy:
“It does not satisfy us. The scope of that investigation is limited to Ray Rice. We have repeatedly said that the NFL doesn’t have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem. Once again, Roger Goodell is using half-measures to sweep it under the rug and do as little as he possibly can to satisfy or quiet down a controversy that is inconvenient for him. He needs to step aside and we need a full-blown investigation, not limited to the Ray Rice incident.”