Roger G's Wheel of Justice

amarshal2

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soxfan121 said:
 
The NFL and Roger Goodell give the impression that they really do have a Wheel of Justice, as opposed to a coherent, consistent set of policies and punishments.

 
 
The NFL's seemingly random punishment of its players is often a topic of discussion around here.  I think it would be interesting to have a thread where we track the league's punishment both to analyze and to have as a reference.
 
I'll start it off with the most recent:
Big Bang Clock suspended 2 games (pending appeal) for his H2H hit on Torrey Smith.  This is the 2nd two game suspension sentence for BMW for an illegal hit with the first being reduced to 1 game after appeal (2013).  He has been fined a total of 5 times for illegal hits but has only faced suspension for the last two.
 
Merriweather claims he led with his shoulder as taught by his coaches and the receiver changed position.
 
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11408933/brandon-meriweather-washington-redskins-suspended-2-games-preseason-hit
 
 
 

finnVT

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Well, Ray Rice also got a 2 game suspension for an illegal hit, so, consistency?
 

soxfan121

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8slim said:
Jim Irsay laughs maniacally at this thread.
 
Even more than the Ray Rice situation - and that one is egregiously and awful - the Irsay situation is even worse. A player caught doing what he did would have been dragged through the mud and suspended by now. 
 

MarcSullivaFan

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soxfan121 said:
 
Even more than the Ray Rice situation - and that one is egregiously and awful - the Irsay situation is even worse. A player caught doing what he did would have been dragged through the mud and suspended by now. 
I have no desire to defend Goodell, but I believe his handling of Irsay's situation is consistent with the past practice of delaying discipline until criminal charges are resolved. Irsay's trial isn't until October.

http://www.si.com/nfl/2014/08/21/indianapolis-colts-jim-irsay-trial
 

soxfan121

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BigSoxFan said:
Josh Gordon's DWI case was re-scheduled to November so that case isn't resolved.
Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
 
They don't call him the Ginger Hammer for nothing, folks.
 
Gordon, as I'm sure you gentleman are aware, was suspended for his failed tests under the Substance Abuse Policy. The DUI happened after the most recent failed test triggered the CBA Policy. 
 
Gordon may face more discipline from the NFL after the DUI case is resolved but the DUI had nothing to do with his suspension.
 
EDIT: And I apologize to MarcSulliFan for making him defend Roger. MSF is, of course, correct. I just have little faith Irsay will be appropriately disciplined.
 

soxfan121

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BigSoxFan said:
Yes, but there are some doubts about the testing sample that turned out to be strike 3. I thought 8 games would have been appropriate.
 
Well OK, but how does that change what is in a collectively bargained policy? 
 
We ALL have some kind of doubt about what is going on here. But the Policy has clearly defined consequences so what we "think" was appropriate isn't really relevant, is it?
 

soxfan121

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BigSoxFan said:
Yes, there's no wiggle room in the punishments but apparently there is in the evidence that leads to these punishments.
 
Is this a "he didn't inhale" argument?
 
What part of "no drugs or you are suspended for a year" allows you to sit around other people doing drugs? He was around enough to have something in his sample. The .01 argument loses its effectiveness when you aren't splitting hairs like an attorney. 
 
Should he have been around people doing drugs given the known consequences? 
 

kevmyster

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I keep seeing this secondhand smoke argument floated around. I know the NFL's test is especially sensitive to THC, but that argument is typically bullshit, as secondhand weed smoke is very unlikely to register on a drug test. He would have to have been hotboxing cars in order to test positive from secondhand smoke. Or his masking agent didn't work well enough.
 

dcmissle

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The NFL's wheel of justice is unjust and unenlightened. But Soxfan is right about the need for apples to apples comparisons, and differentiation between collectively bargained for sanctions and procedures, and what Roger does on his own hook.

The Gordon and Irsay DUIs are comparable. This far, there has been no League discipline in either.

What happened to Gordon yesterday is in the orange section of the produce department.
 

Stitch01

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Looks like the NFL realized they were facing a PR nightmare if there was a bad domestic violence incident post Ray Rice and dealt with it accordingly.
 

mascho

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I'm trying to find the letter, but Jane Sports must have it.
 
@janesports  51s
On Ray Rice discipline: "I didn’t get it right," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell writes to owners.
 
EDIT:  And more:
 
@TomPelissero  5m
Confirming NFL has instituted enhanced policy on domestic violence. NFLPA does not have to sign off because it's under personal conduct.
 

TheGazelle

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http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/11425377/nfl-implements-domestic-violence-penalties
 
Goodell:
 
 
"At times, however, and despite our best efforts, we fall short of our goals," Goodell wrote. "We clearly did so in response to a recent incident of domestic violence. ... My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values.
 
"I didn't get it right."
 

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Have to applaud the league for admitting they fucked up and correcting it.  I also like that this is apparently a blanket policy for all employees, taking away that question.
 

genoasalami

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What was so hard about getting the Rice suspension right the first time?? The evidence was staring him in the face. He's a commish that was supposedly built on being a tough guy with high standards ....No excuse.
 

CantKeepmedown

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As D& C were saying on the radio this morning, Goodell must have seen something on the elevator cam that lead him to make the decision he did.  Either Rice was just trying to hold her back and she slipped and hit her head, or something like that.  I can't see anyway that he would only suspend Rice for 2 games if he uppercutted her, which had been reported. 
 
But now?  Who knows?
 

genoasalami

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Not mentioned ... if marijuana was a contributing factor to the domestic violence incident then the offender will face a firing squad.
 

dcmissle

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genoasalami said:
What was so hard about getting the Rice suspension right the first time?? The evidence was staring him in the face. He's a commish that was supposedly built on being a tough guy with high standards ....No excuse.
But how could Goodell hang Peter King out to dry like this? We'll now see if Pete has fluid hips.
 

8slim

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CantKeepmedown said:
As D& C were saying on the radio this morning, Goodell must have seen something on the elevator cam that lead him to make the decision he did.  Either Rice was just trying to hold her back and she slipped and hit her head, or something like that.  I can't see anyway that he would only suspend Rice for 2 games if he uppercutted her, which had been reported. 
 
But now?  Who knows?
 
I seriously doubt it.  Not just because D&C are idiots, but because there is no way that rationale wouldn't have "leaked" out, if only for Goodell to save his ass in the face of blistering criticism.
 
It actually seems quite simple, Goodell didn't take violence against women completely seriously, until he couldn't help but notice everyone else did.
 

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BigSoxFan said:
Yeah, really. This was an easy one and he completely f'd it up. But I wonder how this works - is it arrests or convictions?
 
This is a pretty big issue. Videotape like Rice's is obviously not the norm and victims are often reluctant to press charges.
 
The massive loss of earnings to a victim's spouse could be a really interesting complicating incentive in terms of pressing charges. I mean, imagine a situation where a player with one strike already hits his wife; if she doesn't plan on leaving him, reporting it could cost her hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. If she wanted a divorce, it's even more complicated because the evidence would work in her favor for the divorce and any custody hearings, but lower the amount she'd receive for herself and any kids.
 
This is... complicated.
 

Ed Hillel

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"I didn't get it right" = "Sponsors threatened to take their business elsewhere."
 
Roger can't save himself, particularly after his insistence on the ruling being correct after the fact. He sucks.
 

Super Nomario

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Reverend said:
 
This is a pretty big issue. Videotape like Rice's is obviously not the norm and victims are often reluctant to press charges.
 
The massive loss of earnings to a victim's spouse could be a really interesting complicating incentive in terms of pressing charges. I mean, imagine a situation where a player with one strike already hits his wife; if she doesn't plan on leaving him, reporting it could cost her hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. If she wanted a divorce, it's even more complicated because the evidence would work in her favor for the divorce and any custody hearings, but lower the amount she'd receive for herself and any kids.
 
This is... complicated.
All of which is perfect as far as the NFL is concerned: discouraging those pesky abused wives from pressing charges can only help the brand.
 

dcmissle

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Reverend said:
 
This is a pretty big issue. Videotape like Rice's is obviously not the norm and victims are often reluctant to press charges.
 
The massive loss of earnings to a victim's spouse could be a really interesting complicating incentive in terms of pressing charges. I mean, imagine a situation where a player with one strike already hits his wife; if she doesn't plan on leaving him, reporting it could cost her hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. If she wanted a divorce, it's even more complicated because the evidence would work in her favor for the divorce and any custody hearings, but lower the amount she'd receive for herself and any kids.
 
This is... complicated.
Yes. And the players, who undoubtedly thought the Rice displine was fine, are now going to be pissed.

There will be the under reported cases you refer to. But there will also be the in terrorem effect of over reported cases -- a player married to someone who is batshit crazy, and then messes herself up to end a guy's career. Or simply threatens too.

They had better be careful when calling the first strike. There are crazy people like this.

WRT that first strike, or second, domestic violence can be a tug on the arm in a heated moment. Which isn't right, but strike 2 is a nuclear weapon.
 

TheGazelle

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dcmissle said:
Yes. And the players, who undoubtedly thought the Rice displine was fine, are now going to be pissed.

There will be the under reported cases you refer to. But there will also be the in terrorem effect of over reported cases -- a player married to someone who is batshit crazy, and then messes herself up to end a guy's career. Or simply threatens too.

They had better be careful when calling the first strike. There are crazy people like this.

WRT that first strike, or second, domestic violence can be a tug on the arm in a heated moment. Which isn't right, but strike 2 is a nuclear weapon.
 
Why do you say this?  Genuine question.   
 

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8slim said:
 
I seriously doubt it.  Not just because D&C are idiots, but because there is no way that rationale wouldn't have "leaked" out, if only for Goodell to save his ass in the face of blistering criticism.
 
It actually seems quite simple, Goodell didn't take violence against women completely seriously, until he couldn't help but notice everyone else did.
 
Agreed. In fact, one need look no further than house organ Peter King's justification for what is probably word-for-word on Goodell's original reasoning.
 

dcmissle

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TheGazelle said:
 
Why do you say this?  Genuine question.   
Because the Rice sanction established a benchmark against which other players' behavior would be measured until today, and because less is better from the players' standpoint. "There but for God's grace go I ..."

Because the Rice sanction was so inadequate, it could not stand as precedent, which it was. Thus this new, hastily out together regime, which may create as many problems as it solves, after the firestorm.

Better to have given Rice a fairer punishment, 8 games to a full season, and worked their way through this problem more thoughtfully.
 

Grin&MartyBarret

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Old Fart Tree said:
Lifetime ban? Wowzers.
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2014/08/28/nfl-toughens-punishment-guidelines-for-domestic-violence/
 
A repeat offender would be permitted to apply to the league for reinstatement after one year.
 
The phrase "lifetime ban" makes for good optics during a PR downswing for the league, but the cynic in me has a feeling we'll see plenty of repeat offenders back in the league after a "ban" that's the equivalent in length to Josh Gordon's suspension.
 

dcmissle

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Grin&MartyBarret said:
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2014/08/28/nfl-toughens-punishment-guidelines-for-domestic-violence/
 
 
The phrase "lifetime ban" makes for good optics during a PR downswing for the league, but the cynic in me has a feeling we'll see plenty of repeat offenders back in the league after a "ban" that's the equivalent in length to Josh Gordon's.
That makes more sense, reducing the incentive of battered companions to hide things and crazy companions to make shit up.
 

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Marciano490

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Reverend said:
 
This is a pretty big issue. Videotape like Rice's is obviously not the norm and victims are often reluctant to press charges.
 
The massive loss of earnings to a victim's spouse could be a really interesting complicating incentive in terms of pressing charges. I mean, imagine a situation where a player with one strike already hits his wife; if she doesn't plan on leaving him, reporting it could cost her hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. If she wanted a divorce, it's even more complicated because the evidence would work in her favor for the divorce and any custody hearings, but lower the amount she'd receive for herself and any kids.
 
This is... complicated.
 
If only the NFL made a shitload of money and could find a way to compensate any battered spouses who lost income that way.  Of course, that might increase the likelihood of the false reporting already being discussed, but worrying about that sort of thing makes me feel a bit icky.  It's not like a woman out for blood couldn't claim rape more easily than DV.
 

H78

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Is Roger Goodell the most hated league commissioner of our lifetimes? He must have passed Selig and Bettman by now.
 
Edit: Typo.
 

H78

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I feel like there are more people who know they hate Roger Goodell than there are people who even know who Gary Bettman is.
 

TheGazelle

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In the comments to this article (http://deadspin.com/nfl-announces-severe-new-penalties-for-domestic-violenc-1628071427), Deadspin prints what it says is the entire letter.  (I put it in a spoiler because it's extremely long). 
 
Since becoming Commissioner, my focus has been on ensuring that the NFL is held in the highest regard by our fans, players, business partners, and public authorities. My commitment has always been to do what is right and to protect the integrity of the game, both now and long into the future.

Recently, we have addressed issues of respect — respect for co-workers, opponents, fans, game officials, and others. Whether in the context of workplace conduct, advancing policies of diversity and inclusion, or promoting professionalism in all we do, our mission has been to create and sustain model workplaces filled with people of character. Although the NFL is celebrated for what happens on the field, we must be equally vigilant in what we do off the field.

At times, however, and despite our best efforts, we fall short of our goals. We clearly did so in response to a recent incident of domestic violence. We allowed our standards to fall below where they should be and lost an important opportunity to emphasize our strong stance on a critical issue and the effective programs we have in place. My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.

The public response reinforced my belief that the NFL is held to a higher standard, and properly so. Much of the criticism stemmed from a fundamental recognition that the NFL is a leader, that we do stand for important values, and that we can project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football. We embrace this role and the responsibility that comes with it. We will listen openly, engage our critics constructively, and seek continuous improvement in everything we do. We will use this opportunity to create a positive outcome by promoting policies of respect for women both within and outside of the workplace. We will work with nationally recognized experts to ensure that the NFL has a model policy on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will invest time and resources in training, programs and services that will become part of our culture. And we will increase the sanctions imposed on NFL personnel who violate our policies.

In the past few weeks, I have reviewed all aspects of our Personal Conduct Policy and met with a wide range of experts (several of whom we have been working with for some time), as well as with the NFLPA and many of you. Those discussions will continue. They have helped us to identify a number of steps that will better communicate our position and strengthen our policies on domestic violence and sexual assault.

These steps are based on a clear, simple principle: domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They have no place in the NFL and are unacceptable in any way, under any circumstances. That has been and remains our policy.

Many of you have done excellent work in this field, both personally and through the efforts of concerned players and your community relations and player engagement departments. Our goals are to prevent violence, impose appropriate discipline, provide professional support resources when appropriate, and publicly embrace a leadership role on this issue.

Consistent with that view, I have directed the following actions to reinforce and enhance our policies:

First, we will continue our work with leading experts to expand the scope of our education on domestic violence and sexual assault for all NFL personnel – players and non-players. This will include enhanced training for entering players through the Rookie Symposium and Rookie Success Program, as well as new programs designed for veteran players and other NFL personnel. All NFL personnel – players and non-players – will receive information about available league resources and local support and advocacy groups in their community.

Second, our club Player Engagement Directors, Human Resource Executives, and other appropriate team personnel will undergo comprehensive training to help them understand and identify risk factors associated with domestic violence and sexual assault. Any person identified as being at risk will be afforded private, confidential assistance. Persons who decline this assistance will be held accountable for that decision in determining discipline for any subsequent act of domestic violence or sexual assault. This is a complicated matter and must be approached with care. We will work with experts to identify strategies based on the most reliable research, recognizing that violence can and does take different forms but generally involves a pattern of coercive behavior.

Third, we will ensure that the NFL LifeLine and NFL Total Wellness Program are staffed with personnel trained to provide prompt and confidential assistance to anyone at risk of domestic violence or sexual assault – whether as a victim or potential aggressor. Information regarding these resources will be furnished to all NFL personnel and their families. Our Player Engagement Directors and Human Resource Executives will meet with team spouses and significant others to ensure that they are aware of the resources available to them as NFL family members, including the ability to seek confidential assistance through independent local resources, as well as through the club or the NFL Total Wellness Program. In this respect, we will utilize our existing, established telephone and on-line programs, and will communicate the full range of available services to all NFL personnel and their families.

Fourth, the outside groups we met with have emphasized that the NFL can play an important role in communities throughout the nation. Consistent with that advice, we will expand the educational components in our college, high school and youth football programs that address domestic violence and sexual assault. We will seek to create and promote programs that develop the character of the young men who play, coach or manage our game, emphasizing respect for women and appropriate ways to resolve conflicts. Outreach efforts embodied in these programs will help young people recognize, establish and maintain healthy relationships. In our earliest contact with young men, we can communicate our expectations, establish NFL standards of conduct, and stress the responsibility that all men have to adhere to those standards.

Fifth, we recognize that domestic violence and sexual assault are broad social issues, affecting millions of people. We want our public role to be both constructive and effective. In the coming months, we will explore meaningful ways to incorporate domestic violence and sexual assault awareness and prevention into our public service work. We will do this with the assistance of responsible outside organizations and the potential participation of current and former players, coaches and families who have been affected and are willing to speak out. Actions we take in this respect will be sensitive, thoughtful and will recognize the positive role models and high character presented by so many men in the NFL.

Finally, and consistent with our Personal Conduct Policy, our own response to domestic violence or sexual assault incidents by NFL personnel will include new elements of evaluation, treatment and family support, as well as enhanced discipline. We will address these issues fairly and thoughtfully, respecting the rights of all involved and giving proper deference to law enforcement and the courts. If someone is charged with domestic violence or sexual assault, there will be a mandatory evaluation and, where professionally indicated, counseling or other specialized services. Effective immediately, violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to a suspension without pay of six games for a first offense, with consideration given to mitigating factors, as well as a longer suspension when circumstances warrant. Among the circumstances that would merit a more severe penalty would be a prior incident before joining the NFL, or violence involving a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the NFL; while an individual may petition for reinstatement after one year, there will be no presumption or assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary standards will apply to all NFL personnel.

With very few exceptions, NFL personnel conduct themselves in an exemplary way. But even one case of domestic violence or sexual assault is unacceptable. The reality is that domestic violence and sexual assault are often hidden crimes, ones that are under-reported and under-acknowledged. The steps we are taking will reinforce our commitment to address this issue constructively.

In addition to focusing on domestic violence and sexual assault, we will continue to maintain strong policies regarding weapons offenses. We are similarly working to strengthen our response to impaired driving. We have sought – unsuccessfully – for several years to obtain the NFLPA's agreement to more stringent discipline for DUI, including mandatory deactivation for the game immediately following an arrest and a minimum two-game suspension for a first violation of law. We will continue to press our position on this issue in the hope of securing the union's agreement.

There are three steps that each club should take promptly: first, post and distribute the attached "Memorandum to All NFL Personnel" to every player under contract to your club; second, ensure that your head coach reviews the information in that notice with his staff and with all your players; and third, share this letter and the attached Memorandum with all members of your organization, including your team president, General Manager, Human Resources Executive, Security Director, and Player Engagement Director.

In the coming weeks, we will contact all clubs on further steps to be taken in support of these initiatives. I am grateful for the thoughtful advice received from so many of you and for the support that I know you will give to this important work.

MEMORANDUM TO ALL NFL PERSONNEL

Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances.

Our Personal Conduct Policy has long made clear that domestic violence and sexual assault are unacceptable. We clearly must do a better job of addressing these incidents in the NFL. And we will.

Earlier today, I sent NFL owners a letter that identified specific actions we will take to improve our response to domestic violence and sexual assault. Those actions include the following:

All NFL Personnel will participate in new and enhanced educational programs on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will also increase our outreach to college and youth football programs.

Families will receive detailed information about available services and resources, both through the club and independent of the club. These resources and services will be available to employees and their families on a confidential basis.

Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline. A first offense will be subject to a suspension of six weeks without pay. Mitigating circumstances will be considered, and more severe discipline will be imposed if there are aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the league; an offender may petition for reinstatement after one year but there is no assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary consequences apply to all NFL personnel.

* * * * *

If you believe that you or someone you know may be at risk of domestic violence or other misconduct, we strongly encourage you to seek assistance through your club's director of player engagement, human resources department, the NFL LifeLine or an independent local domestic violence resource. Help is available and can prevent potentially tragic incidents.

ROGER GOODELL

COMMISSIONER
 

cornwalls@6

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Honest, if naïve question: Are these penalties for accusations or for legal convictions?  Or some judgment of the league standard?    Given the Roethlisberger case, and a few others, I think it fair to question his and the league's commitment to due process. Make no mistake, if someone is convicted of domestic assault, I'd be fine with the lifetime ban being imposed for the first offense. But I suspect there will be a reactionary, PR-driven rush to judgment element in this.     
 

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cornwalls@6 said:
Honest, if naïve question: Are these penalties for accusations or for legal convictions?  Or some judgment of the league standard?    Given the Roethlisberger case, and a few others, I think it fair to question his and the league's commitment to due process. Make no mistake, if someone is convicted of domestic assault, I'd be fine with the lifetime ban being imposed for the first offense. But I suspect there will be a reactionary, PR-driven rush to judgment element in this.     
 
It's not stated in the letter, but the NFL usually lets criminal prosecutions play out before taking their own action, so that's the most likely case here. A full policy probably exists that is clearer. 
 

Cellar-Door

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I love that letter
Hey I just realized beating up women is wrong, I mean I watched the Ray Rice video and didn't get it, but our sponsors called me an told me it was wrong, so now I know.
 

CaptainLaddie

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CantKeepmedown said:
As D& C were saying on the radio this morning, Goodell must have seen something on the elevator cam that lead him to make the decision he did.  Either Rice was just trying to hold her back and she slipped and hit her head, or something like that.  I can't see anyway that he would only suspend Rice for 2 games if he uppercutted her, which had been reported. 
 
But now?  Who knows?
 

My buddy is a corrections officer in New Jersey and he spoke with a prosecutor who has seen the full tape.
 
This is what he wrote to me:
 
Friend of mine is a prosecutor and saw the whole video. She pushed him and had her finger in his face. Then she was turning away from him and almost had her back completely to him and he hooked her in the head. Then he stared at the elevator floor sign and just before the doors opened he mule kicked her in the body to try to wake her up before the doors opened. Then the NFL fined him 1 million which essentially fined the victim 500K.
 
I trust what he said, in that I believe that's what he was told.  He's not one to embellish.
 

soxfan121

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Cellar-Door said:
I love that letter
Hey I just realized beating up women is wrong, I mean I watched the Ray Rice video and didn't get it, but our sponsors called me an told me it was wrong, so now I know.
 
Yep, that about sums it up. Well done.
 

soxfan121

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CantKeepmedown

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CaptainLaddie said:
My buddy is a corrections officer in New Jersey and he spoke with a prosecutor who has seen the full tape.
 
This is what he wrote to me:
 

 
I trust what he said, in that I believe that's what he was told.  He's not one to embellish.
If that's the case, Jesus. Goodell better hope that TMZ or Deadspin doesn't get their hands on that tape.