NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged his own missteps and admitted that he needs assistance in overseeing the league’s personal conduct policy in a Friday press conference designed to stem the wave of criticism the NFL has faced over high-profile domestic violence cases involving players.
“I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter and I’m sorry for that. I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process that I led to the decision that I reached. But now I will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that,” Goodell said.
Goodell said that everyone affiliated with the NFL — both at the team level and the league level — will go through training to help reduce domestic violence. And Goodell said he hopes the NFL will become a leader in fighting against domestic violence throughout American society.
“These incidents demonstrate that we can use the NFL to help make change, not only in our league but in our society with respect to domestic violence and sexual assault,” Goodell said.
Goodell also acknowledged that the league office itself dropped the ball in investigating the Rice case, and he said the NFL will cooperate fully with former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation of the matter.
“We will get our house in order first,” Goodell said.
The NFL is now pledging to work with outside groups and to work with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The league has pledged to provide the resources the Hotline needs — resources that have been strained in recent days as domestic violence has become a topic of conversation around the league.
The arbitrary nature of the NFL’s personal conduct policy has also been criticized in recent weeks, and Goodell vowed to get that right.
“We will make it happen,” Goodell said. “We will implement new conduct policies. They will have a set of clear and transparent rules for league and club personnel, owners and players. My goal is to complete this by the Super Bowl.”
Goodell spoke forcefully and expressed confidence that the league can move forward.