AUGUSTA, Maine (WJZ) — Stricter sanctions. In the wake of the Ray Rice scandal, the NFL is eying tougher penalties for players for players connected to domestic violence.
The NFL commissioner is not backing down over what some say was a light punishment for Ray Rice–just two games off. But now, the league is considering a minimum four-game suspension for similar offenses in the future.
Mike Hellgren spoke to one governor who says even that’s not enough.
The governor of Maine told WJZ he believes the NFL commissioner is only motivated by business and money. Under pressure, the league claims it will be cracking down on such offenses in the future.
Ray Rice’s two-game suspension after assaulting his now-wife drew so much criticism, the NFL is now considering mandatory four to six-game suspensions for any player who abuses his partner.
This, even as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defends his decision on Rice.
“We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL and that there will be consequences for that,” said Goodell.
Critics have skewered the commissioner, saying the lenient punishment sends a terrible message.
“What Roger Goodell reportedly did was in fact to make Janay Palmer-Rice beg for her physical safety by begging for Ray Rice’s career,” said Keith Olbermann, ESPN.
The governor of Maine just sent an angry letter to Goodell, calling the Rice punishment unconscionable. He explained why in an interview with WJZ.
“These people become role models and they can’t go around beating people,” Maine Governor Paul LePage said. “I watched my dad kick my mother when she was seven months pregnant and she ended up giving a stillborn. It’s not about a football team or a player, it’s about the social fabric of our country.”
Gail Reid, who works with victims in Maryland, believes the league is moving in the right direction if it adopts tougher sanctions.
“Pretty much across the board, the response has been that that was a very light penalty,” said Reid. “The reason people felt so strongly is because there was this video footage that everyone could see. That’s what domestic violence always looks like. It’s brutal.”
According to published reports, the NFL is considering suspending second-time domestic violence offenders for an entire season.
Rice is still going through an intensive counseling program, which includes his wife, Janay.
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