WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The National Football League is considering toughening the penalties for domestic violence in the wake of the uproar created by the two-game ban handed to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The new policy, if implemented, could establish guidelines for a suspension of four to six games without pay for a first offense and potentially a season-long suspension for a second incident, multiple sources told the newspaper.
Rice allegedly knocked his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, unconscious in February, and the NFL was widely criticized for what was seen as a light sanction handed down to the three-time Pro Bowl running back.
“We need to have stricter penalties,” a person with knowledge of the league’s deliberations told the Post. “I think you will see that. I believe the commissioner and others would like to see stricter penalties. We need to be more vigilant.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to comment on the specifics of the Post story in an e-mail to Reuters, but added, “We are always looking to evolve and improve our policies and programs on all issues.”
Rice, who is now married to Palmer, pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into an intervention program in May.
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Andrew Hay)