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Collins Among Senators Pushing NFL for 'Zero Tolerance' Policy on Domestic Violence

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Patty Wight
/
MPBN

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is among 15 women senators urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to institute a "zero-tolerance" policy for domestic violence.

In a letter to Goodell today, the senators said the league needs to send a strong message that domestic violence won't be tolerated.

"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 group wrote to Goodell. "Tragically, this is not the only case of an NFL player allegedly assaulting a woman even within the last year."

The letter is in response to the situation involving Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice, whose violent attack on his then-fiance in an elevator was recorded on surveillence video.  Rice was initially suspended for two days, but on Monday, his contract with the Ravens was terminated.
 
Goodell has said that he wasn't aware of the video, but The Associated Press reports that an unnamed law enforcement official claims to have sent the video to the NFL several months ago.

The women senators say the league's new policy on violent crime adopted in August, which subjects perpetrators to a 6-game suspension for a first offense is inadequate.
"The NFL’s current policy sends a terrible message to players, fans and all Americans that even after committing a horrific act of violence, you can quickly be back on the field," they write.

In addition to Collins, a Republican, the senators who signed the letter include Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

The full text of the letter is below:
 
September 11, 2014
 
Mr. Roger Goodell
Commissioner
National Football League
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154
 
Dear Commissioner Goodell:
 
As we mark the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, we call on the NFL to institute a real zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence that will ensure that this type of violence and abuse has no place in the NFL.
 
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. Tragically, this is not the only case of an NFL player allegedly assaulting a woman even within the last year.
 
We are deeply concerned that the NFL’s new policy, announced last month, would allow a player to commit a violent act against a woman 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.
 
The NFL’s current policy sends a terrible message to players, fans and all Americans that even after committing a horrific act of violence, you can quickly be back on the field.
 
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.  We hope the NFL will seize this opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate its commitment to the safety of women and families.