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Goodell Responds to Boxer, Says NFL Will Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Football League has responded to one of its foremost critics in the Senate, and this time she’s optimistic about what Commissioner Roger Goodell had to say.  

Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday released two separate letters dated this month from Goodell and Cynthia Hogan, the new NFL senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, praising each. Boxer had initially led a letter to Goodell from a group of a total of female 16 senators seeking the league to enact a policy of zero tolerance for incidents of domestic violence. She followed up directly with Hogan in subsequent correspondence.  

Goodell’s letter, which Boxer’s office has posted here , says the NFL will not tolerate domestic violence and outlines the steps the league is already taking to change the way it handles domestic abuse cases following incidents involving Ray Rice and other professional football players. “These steps are by no means the end of our work. We will continue to engage with experts and advocates to expand and develop long-term programs that raise awareness, educate, and reduce domestic violence and sexual assault both within the NFL and in our society,” Goodell wrote on Oct. 1. “We recognize that domestic violence and sexual assault are serious issues that we cannot solve by ourselves. But we are committed to doing our part to make a positive and significant difference.”  

Hogan responded in her letter , which was dated Oct. 6:

“All of us at the NFL recognize that we have a responsibility to improve our response to family violence. I want to assure you that we take this responsibility seriously, we have committed ourselves to fixing our policies and procedures, and we will work to make this an opportunity to learn and share broadly the best policies for handling domestic violence and sexual assault, which continue to affect too many Americans, including women and children, in every community across the nation.”

Hogan planned to reach out to Boxer’s office directly to discuss the league’s plans. Boxer and Hogan know each other from Hogan’s time working for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., including on the Violence Against Women Act. To be sure, Boxer wants the league to do more.  

“Zero tolerance does not mean a six-game suspension after a football player commits domestic violence,” she said in a statement.  

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