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Former NFLPA president surprised by domestic violence policy

Kevin Mawae

Former NFL Players association president Kevin Mawae was surprised to hear about the NFL’s new domestic violence policy yesterday.

Not because he’s opposed to tougher standards, but because he didn’t expect commissioner Roger Goodell to admit he was wrong in the giving Ray Rice just a two-game suspension for knocking his then-fiancee unconscious.

The new policy includes a six-game suspension for first time offenders, and a possible lifetime ban for seconds. The league’s policy also includes the consideration of mitigating factors which could reduce the punishment.

My initial reaction is, ‘Really?‘ ” Mawae told Jim Corbett of USA Today. “I can’t believe he admitted he got something wrong. With that whole Ray Rice situation, it was a pretty common thought that it was a lenient sentence when guys get suspended six games for far lesser issues. . . . For him to backtrack, my question is what does this do for Ray Rice? Are they going to impose a stronger penalty on him? Or is it ‘Oops, our mistake. But going forward we’re going to be more strict.’

“I think it’s the right move as far as making guys accountable. There’s no reason to physically abuse your spouse, your girlfriend or a woman. That to me is intolerable.”

The NFL isn’t getting into specifics about the new plan, and whether Rice will be considered a second-time offender, or where Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (convicted, pending a scheduled November appeal) stand in the system.

But having been through a lockout and watching the league dig in on certain points, Mawae was pleased to see the flexibility from the NFL. Goodell had previously cited “precedent” when defending the Rice punishment.

“Domestic violence is intolerable for anybody, whether you’re a football player or not,” Mawae said. “I think anybody would say Ray Rice got off with a slap on the wrist by comparison to less major issues that got far heavier punishment during Goodell’s tenure.

“I don’t have a problem with the six-game suspension for domestic violence. I like the idea of mitigating circumstances. There’s a difference if you and your wife got in an argument, and you nudged her out the door and between knocking your wife out in an elevator. . . . And I’m all for your ability to appeal for reinstatement after a year if you’ve done your counseling and looked at your own personal demons.”

And to Mawae’s trained eye, that’s in a way also what Goodell has done, realizing a mistake and trying to make amends for it.

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7 Responses to “Former NFLPA president surprised by domestic violence policy”
  1. rayricespimphand says: Aug 29, 2014 6:13 AM

    “For him to backtrack, my question is what does this do for Ray Rice? Are they going to impose a stronger penalty on him?”

    For a guy who was the NFLPA president, he sure doesn’t seem to know much about the rules. Does he really think God-ell can retroactively impose punishments for union members past transgressions? You have a union and a CBA for a reason, really thought he’d know that.

  2. bigwinintx says: Aug 29, 2014 7:04 AM

    Goodell knew he screwed up on the Rice deal, but how do you unring a bell?
    He can’t go back and give him a stiffer penalty on this occurrence, the union would have a field day with that.
    And now the next guy that lays hands on a woman is going to throw the Rice penalty out as a way to get a more lenient penalty.
    This is the one time where he should have listened to the masses who wanted no less than a six week suspension for Rice.
    Interesting how Josh Gordon just got hit with a full year ban and has to go through multiple drug screenings at random times, all the while he never hurt anyone, but Rice only had to show up at TWO press conferences and refused guilt at the first one.

  3. jjeagle says: Aug 29, 2014 8:46 AM

    Demaurice smith and his CBA agreement screwed the players left and right…he should not win re-election…someone like Mawae but with better business skills should be in…

  4. kane337 says: Aug 29, 2014 9:06 AM

    It does not surprise me that they were surprised. Any decision the NFL makes surprises the people of the NFLPA.

  5. denverdude7 says: Aug 29, 2014 9:15 AM

    Obviously, Ray Rice got off easy and I am glad to see the NFL increase the penalties regarding domestic violence. It was the right thing to do.

    That being said, why is there no pressure being applied to the Baltimore Ravens owner and management team to increase Rice’s penalty on their own?

    Are we as a society actually more concerned about a teams offensive name than we are about an actual event that injured a woman?

    How about it Ozzie? You have been a man of very high character to this point so why stop now?

  6. Stiller43 says: Aug 29, 2014 9:35 AM

    Why doesn’t Goodell go and right an ADMITTED wrong? The suspension hasn’t even started yet, just extend it to make it fit with the new policy that came about because you got it wrong a couple weeks ago…it’s not that hard.

  7. doggeatdogg says: Aug 29, 2014 6:01 PM

    He is surprised he admitted he got it wrong? He should be outraged such a policy was created in a vacuum with no input from the NFLPA.

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