(Reuters) - The National Football League, reeling from a series of domestic violence cases involving some of its players, said on Monday it hired four women to help shape domestic violence policies.
In a memo to the league’s 32 teams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said it retained Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith as senior advisors to “shape the NFL’s policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault.”
Goodell also announced that vice president of community affairs and philanthropy Anna Isaacson will fill a newly-created role as vice president of social responsibility to oversee the development of education, training and support programs relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, and matters of respect.
“We are continuing to develop our organization to strengthen our ability to address the wide range of issues we face and other changes in our office will be announced soon,” Goodell said in the memo.
“Our goal is to make a real difference on these and other issues. We know that we will be judged by our actions and their effectiveness.”
Friel was head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office for over a decade. Randel is the co-founder of No More, a campaign focused on domestic violence and sexual assault. Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The moves come as Goodell is under fire for how he handled the case of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
Goodell admitted he “didn’t get it right” in July when he banned Rice for two games after he knocked out his then-fiancée with one punch to the face. Only after a video of the blow surfaced last week did Baltimore release the three-time Pro Bowl running back while the league suspended him indefinitely.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was left out of his team’s game on Sunday after being arrested a day earlier and charged with injuring a child after using a switch to spank his son. The team has since reinstated Peterson [ID:nL1N0RG1AV]
The Carolina Panthers deactivated defensive end Greg Hardy for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions in a reversal of an earlier decision to let him play while he appeals a domestic violence conviction.
Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue