Sixteen women senators joined together Thursday to tell National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell they want the league to institute a “zero tolerance policy” for domestic violence.
“We were shocked and disgusted by the images we saw this week of one of your players violently assaulting his now-wife and knocking her unconscious, and at new reports that the NFL may have received this video months ago,” the senators wrote, referring to the video showing former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice attacking his now-wife.
“Tragically, this is not the only case of an NFL player allegedly assaulting a woman even within the last year,” the senators said. “We are deeply concerned that the NFL’s new policy, announced last month, would allow a player to commit a violent act and return after a short suspension. If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn’t get a second chance to play football in the NFL.”
As a result, they wrote, “It is long past time for the NFL to institute a real zero-tolerance policy and send a strong message that the league will not tolerate violence against women by its players, who are role models for children across America.”
Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely, but in an interview would not rule out permitting Rice to return to the NFL some day.
Signing the letter were Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C.