WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Women of the U.S. Senate have taken notice and will speak up about how the National Football League has handled domestic abuse cases involving its players, a leading lawmaker said on Sunday.
Several recent cases involving NFL players harming their partners or children have embarrassed the league, prompting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to apologize on Friday and promise reforms. That has not silenced the criticism.
“I think I can speak for all the women in the Senate by saying we’re surprised, amazed, and very resolute to do something about it,” California Senator Dianne Feinstein said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
NFL players are role models and the league should not tolerate instances where athletes get violent off the field, the Democratic lawmaker said.
“These teams have to set an example for the rest of society,” said Feinstein, a football fan who was mayor of San Francisco when that city’s 49ers enjoyed several winning seasons.
“I think there is no place for this, period. I believe very strongly that if a player was arrested they should be suspended,” she said.
Goodell and the league have been under pressure since a security camera video became public showing Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice knock his then-fiancee unconscious in a casino elevator. The team gave Rice a two-game suspension but he has since been dropped from the squad.
The spectacle has drawn lawmaker scrutiny of federal policies that aid the league.
Last week, top U.S. House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi said Congress could weigh in on the NFL scandal because the league, which is a registered nonprofit that drives $9 billion in annual revenue, is exempted from antitrust regulations.
Feinstein did not say how she imagined lawmakers getting involved in NFL concerns.
Reporting By Patrick Rucker