NFL gets it right on domestic abuse

When was the last time you heard a leading public figure who administers a major public and/or entertainment enterprise admit he got something wrong?

It’s been some time, yes?

Well, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell did that very thing today when the league announced a new policy regarding players involved in cases of domestic violence.

This wasn’t a surprise. It was a welcome change nevertheless.

The NFL has instituted a policy of severe punishment for players who beat up their spouses, girlfriends or assorted “loved ones.” The new penalties include a potential lifetime ban from the NFL if the player is caught a second or subsequent time. Initial offenses will result in a suspension of at least six games.

The revised policy comes in the wake of a terrible decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for just two games after he was seen on video beating his then-fiancée unconscious. Rice has since married the woman he beat up.

The so-called “punishment” brought a torrent of criticism on Goodell and the league for tolerating such behavior and for invoking such limited sanction against the offending player.

Goodell said this in response to the Rice sanction: “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.”

As of today, the NFL has done better.