October 9, 2014 / 12:23 AM / 4 years ago

Goodell says role in discipline process reviewed for over year

Sep 19, 2014; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the media at a press conference at New York Hilton. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, under fire for his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, said on Wednesday that his role in the league’s disciplinary process had been discussed internally for over a year.

Goodell, speaking at the conclusion of the National Football League owners’ meetings in New York, was asked if it would be best for the NFL if he did not have total autonomy in doling out punishments.

“Everything is on the table,” said Goodell. “We’ve been debating internally for well over a year whether there’s a better process.

“At the same time, when something affects the integrity of the game, I think it’s important for the commissioner to retain that authority.”

Goodell has previously said the NFL would want to have a new personal conduct policy in place by the Feb. 1 Super Bowl.

Rice was originally banned two games for punching his then-fiancee at a New Jersey casino in February. But when a video surfaced last month showing the knockout punch, the Baltimore Ravens released the three-time Pro Bowl running back and Goodell suspended him indefinitely.

Goodell’s handling of the Rice case, one of several recent incidents involving the conduct of high-profile players, raised questions about the effectiveness of the NFL’s response to various issues and led to a full-scale independent investigation led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.

“We talked specifically about the investigation process,” said Goodell. “And questions continued to be debated on whether we should rely completely on law enforcement or have independent investigations, and the time period at which those investigations would occur.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom

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