NFL Wire News

Goodell to announce new personal conduct policy

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to unveil a stricter personal-conduct policy Wednesday, the latest step in his mission to make integrity a top priority.

Goodell, who came under fire for his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case among others, sent a memo to the NFL owners outlining his plans.

The owners are gathering in Irving, Texas for their final scheduled meeting before the end of the season.

“The NFL can no longer defer entirely to the criminal justice system which is governed by processes and considerations that are not appropriate to a workplace, especially a workplace as visible and influential as ours. The new policy will embrace the use of independent investigations,” Goodell wrote.

According to the memo, the plan will:

–Implement an element of leave with pay during investigations of persons charged with violent crimes

–Remove the commissioner from the initial disciplinary hearings and establish a more rigorous and transparent process for those initial discipllnary hearings.

The owners would need 24 of 32 approving votes to enact the new guidelines.

The The Wall Street Journal reported that the plan mirrors the rules established by the New York Police Department.

The newspaper reports that Goodell talked to New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton last month about how his department handles similar cases.

Among the considerations in the new policy, the league would allow for a neutral arbitrator to rule on player discipline, but Goodell or someone he appoints would handle any appeals. The latter has been a sticking point with the NFL Players Association, which wants Goodell removed entirely from the process.

The NFLPA wants any changes to the personal conduct policy to be collectively bargained.

Last month, an arbitrator threw out Rice’s indefinite suspension by the NFL for hitting his then-fiancee and now-wife Janay in an Atlantic City hotel elevator in February. Rice is eligible to sign with any team.

Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games. Goodell then made the suspension indefinite after the emergence of a second video showing Rice knocking out Janay with a punch.

“I blew it,” Goodell told The Wall Street Journal of his handling the Rice matter. “Our penalties didn’t fit the crimes.”


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