NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and other union executives for several hours Friday to discuss issues related to domestic violence and sexual assault. The NFL also has consulted with the U.S. Army to see how the military addresses issues of misconduct.
Goodell outlined these and other steps being taken by the league in the wake of a spate of domestic violence cases that has rocked the NFL in recent weeks. Four players, including former Ravens running back Ray Rice and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, are currently suspended for their roles in domestic violence cases.
In a letter to all 32 NFL owners Friday, a copy of which was obtained by Newsday, Goodell said he met with the NFLPA representatives "to continue discussing issues of personal conduct, including training, education, family services, and the disciplinary process." Goodell said last Friday -- at his first news conference since Ray Rice was suspended Sept. 8 after a video was released showing him punching his fiancee, Janay Palmer, in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino -- that he wanted to update the league's personal conduct policy.
Goodell on Tuesday met with 11 former players to discuss the personal conduct policy. He also said the league met with "individuals with law enforcement backgrounds to discuss their views on standards of conduct, appropriate levels of assistance, and discipline. These meetings will continue."
The commissioner said he and other league officials met with "senior representatives of the U.S. Army regarding the military's approach to addressing issues of misconduct, including the provision of support services to families and victims."
Goodell also wrote that the league would continue a television promotion to address the issue of domestic violence. The public service ad aired during Thursday night's game between the Giants and Washington.
"Beginning with last night's game, we have provided NFL television promotional time for a PSA produced by NO MORE, a national campaign addressing domestic violence and sexual assault," Goodell said. "This PSA ran during last night's CBS Thursday Night Football telecast which reached more than 16 million viewers. The spot will run during all NFL game telecasts this weekend. The value of this promotional time is close to $3 million. We are evaluating how to use our broadcast promotional assets for the rest of the season in support of our efforts to address domestic violence and sexual assault on a broader basis."
Goodell said the league's newly created partnerships with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center "have had immediate positive results. The Hotline continues to experience increased call volume and our financial support has allowed it to hire an additional 10 new full-time advocates, and 10 more will be hired by the end of next week. This will allow the Hotline to answer another 600-800 calls per day.
"The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has reached out to all of its coalitions to inform them of the NFL's grant, which will support local hotlines in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories. Many clubs have responded to the materials that were distributed to all clubs regarding resources in your communities related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and driving under the influence."
Goodell said he would provide further updates to the owners at a regularly scheduled meeting in New York on Oct. 7-8.