NBA commissioner Adam Silver said his league will be proactive and "take a fresh look" at its domestic abuse policies in light of the recent high-profile cases in the NFL.
Speaking at a playground and basketball court dedication Monday in Midland Beach, an area on Staten Island hit hard by superstorm Sandy, Silver wasn't critical of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. But Silver said the NBA is studying what has transpired and is working closely with the Players Association on the best ways to prevent such incidents in his league.
"We've been talking for several weeks and we're going to take a fresh look at everything we do," Silver said. "There's a lot to be learned here, so I'm sure we'll be increasing everything we're already doing."
Monday was new Players Association executive director Michele Roberts' first official day on the job. But Silver said they already have had numerous discussions about educating players and whether to change their policies and punishments for domestic abuse.
The collective-bargaining agreement calls for a minimum 10-game suspension for violent acts. Roberts isn't sure that more severe punishment is the answer.
"We need to just stop it from happening," Roberts said. "We need to make sure that the incidents are, if not nonexistent, minimal. So I'm less worried about whether we punish enough . . . I'm more concerned about just stopping it.
"I don't want to get a phone call saying one of my players has been arrested because he or she assaulted his or her spouse. We need to do something on the front end and not be so caught up on what happens after the fact."
The NBA talks about domestic abuse in its rookie transition program and in team awareness meetings. But Silver said the league will deal directly with spouses and partners more than it has in the past.
"What we can do is focus on education," Silver said. "It's not just the players, but it's the players' families. That's what we're learning. We have to take these programs directly to the players' spouses, directly to their partners, so they're aware of places they can go to express concerns, whether they're anonymous hotlines, team executives, league executives, and we're consulting experts.
"There's a lot to be learned here. It's a societal problem. It's not one that's unique to sports."