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The NFL has been playing defense for the past few weeks since Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was only suspended for two games after he was arrested on a domestic violence charge. Now, the league that runs the nation’s most popular sport is considering harsher penalties for players involved in domestic violence cases.
Sources for The Washington Post say that the punishments could include four to six-game suspensions without pay for a first offense. A second offense would bring a full year suspension. The sources spoke anonymously because the league has not made a definitive decision yet.
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The league and Commissioner Roger Goodell have been the target of media scorn since Rice was only suspended for the first two games of the season in July. He was also fined $529,411.24.
Rice was seen in a video posted on TMZ dragging Janay Palmer, who is now Rice’s wife, out of an elevator in Atlantic City. He allegedly hit Palmer in the elevator. Rice struck a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time and will take a domestic violence course.
Goodell’s response was widely seen as not tough enough on domestic violence, especially since players can earn harsher penalties for violations like drug use. Goodell later defended the short suspension.
"I take into account all of the information before I make a decision on what the discipline will be,” Goodell said earlier this month, ESPN reported at the time. “In this case, there was no discipline by the criminal justice system.”
“We need to have stricter penalties,” one of the Post’s sources said Thursday. “I think you will see that. I believe the commissioner and others would like to see stricter penalties. We need to be more vigilant.” The source said that changes will be made within a few weeks.
Sources linked to the NFL Players Association said it was not in on the talks about the harsher penalties.
image of Ray Rice courtesy of Kristin Callahan/ACE/INFphoto.com