NFL admits it 'failed' in handling of Ray Rice case

Tue Dec 2, 2014 5:58pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The National Football League (NFL) "failed" in its efforts to police domestic abuse by its players but has "learned from those mistakes," a top NFL executive testified to Congress on Tuesday.

Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president for football operations, conceded that the case involving Ray Rice was handled poorly.

"The commissioner (Roger Goodell) has acknowledged those mistakes," Vincent told a packed hearing by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

"We failed. This is all part of our evaluation as we look at a new personal conduct policy ... But we learned from those mistakes."

Representatives of the four major U.S. sports were on hand at the hearing on domestic abuse although none of the commissioners were present and only one of the top players' union officials, Michele Roberts of the National Basketball Association.

Domestic abuse has been a flashpoint issue ever since the NFL's handling of the Rice case, in which Goodell suspended the former Baltimore Ravens running back for two games for knocking out his fiancée, who later became his wife.

Only when graphic video emerged showing him knocking out his then-fiancee did the Ravens release him and the NFL suspend him indefinitely.

Repealing the NFL's tax-exempt status and favorable anti-trust position was discussed by the senators should the league fail to implement an effective domestic abuse policy.   Continued...

Former Baltimore Ravens NFL running back Ray Rice and his wife Janay arrive for a hearing at a New York City office building November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar