NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talked to a few reporters Friday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his first chance to address the furor over the Ray Rice suspension.
And he said little to pacify those who thought it might be too light.
“Our policy is clear,” Goodell said. “We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL.”
Goodell said the two-game suspension Rice received for knocking out his wife was consistent with other cases, since Rice is a first-time offender.
That’s not necessarily consistent with previous punishments (such as Ben Roethlisberger’s six-game suspension that became four), but Goodell said he expects reaction.
“When we make decisions, we we always get reactions,” Goodell said. “We understand it, we listen to it and we use it to make ourselves better.”
Goodell took exception to some of the public mockery (such as Jon Stewart’s) which compared Rice’s punishment to heavier punishment for drug offenses, leaning back on the collectively bargained nature of the drug policy.
But as much as he’d like to believe this one is tied up in a neat little bow, it’s clear that this will be an ongoing PR battle for the league.