February 9, 2016 / 7:19 PM / 3 years ago

League bars violent offenders from rookie scouting combine

Baltimore Ravens runningback Ray Rice reacts as he heads out to the field during introductions prior to game against the Cleveland Browns in NFL football action between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns in Baltimore, Maryland September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Patrick Smith

(Reuters) - The National Football League has decided individuals who have convictions for domestic violence, sexual assault or weapon offenses will no longer be allowed to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.

The new policy for the combine, an annual event used by clubs to evaluate draft-eligible players, was sent in a memo to teams from the league’s executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent last month.

In the memo, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, Vincent said prospects invited to the Feb. 23-29 combine in Indianapolis would be barred from attending if a background check revealed a felony or misdemeanor conviction.

“It is important for us to remain strongly committed to league values as we demonstrate to our fans, future players, coaches, general managers and others who support our game that character matters,” Vincent wrote.

The NFL has come under scrutiny after a series of unflattering headlines involving players in recent years, including the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal and Adrian Peterson child abuse case.

The memo also says a prospect who is barred from attending the combine may still be evaluated independently by a team at any location permitted under NFL rules.

Editing by Tony Jimenez

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