NFL approves "tough" personal-conduct policy

Dec 10, 2014 5:23 PM by CBS/AP

"This will be a highly qualified individual with a criminal justice background hired as soon as possible for the newly created position," Goodell said. "The person will oversee our investigations and decide the discipline for violations of the policy."

The commissioner, who came under fire for his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, also may appoint a panel of independent experts to participate in appeals.

After the Rice and Adrian Peterson cases, a more extensive list of prohibited conduct will be included in the policy, as well as specific criteria for paid leave for anyone charged with a violent crime.

The policy is similar to the rules established by the New York Police Department, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reported that Goodell peppered New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton last month with questions about how his department handles similar cases.

A suspension of six games without pay for violations involving assault, sexual assault, battery, domestic violence, child abuse and other forms of family violence will be in effect, but with consideration given to mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

Read details of the new NFL personal-conduct policy here
"The policy is comprehensive. It is strong. It is tough. And it better for everyone associated with the NFL," Goodell said.

The players' union blasted the owners for acting unilaterally.

"Our union has not been offered the professional courtesy of seeing the NFL's new personal conduct policy before it hit the presses," the NFLPA said in a statement. "Their unilateral decision and conduct today is the only thing that has been consistent over the past few months."

The new policy will include a conduct committee made up of several team owners that will review the policy at least annually and recommend appropriate changes. That committee will seek advice from outside experts, the NFL said.

Members of the committee will be Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill as the chairman; Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank; Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt; Dee Haslam, the wife of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam; Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson, chairwoman of the NFL Foundation; Chicago Bears owner George McCaskey; Houston Texans owner Robert McNair; and two former NFL players who have a stake in NFL team ownership, Warrick Dunn of the Falcons and John Stallworth of the Steelers.

NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said Wednesday in a conference call that "it was a mistake in the past" to rely solely on the criminal justice system for looking into legal issues. And he said the commissioner's role in handing out discipline is not subject to collective bargaining.

Last month, an arbitrator threw out Rice's indefinite suspension by the NFL for hitting his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator, freeing him to play again.

Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones said Goodell's decision in September to change Rice's original suspension from two games to indefinite was "arbitrary" and an "abuse of discretion."

After noting the two-game suspension given to Rice was insufficient, Goodell had changed the minimum punishment under the personal conduct policy to six games. After a video of the punch became public, Rice was released by the Ravens and Goodell suspended him indefinitely.

Rice and the union contended he was essentially sentenced twice, and Jones agreed, saying Rice "did not lie to or mislead the NFL."

Peterson's appeal of a league suspension lasting until next April 15 was heard by Harold Henderson last week. Henderson, a former NFL executive, was appointed by Goodell to rule on the appeal and is expected to do so soon.

Peterson is seeking reinstatement, something Goodell said he would not consider before April 15.

The 2012 NFL MVP hasn't played for the Minnesota Vikings since Week 1 after he was charged with child abuse in Texas. He was placed on paid leave while the legal process played out, and he pleaded no contest Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless assault for injuring his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Most Popular

Top Videos

1 2 3 4