Lawmakers say major sports leagues have a responsibility to “be at the forefront of handling" incidents of abuse
A dozen House Democrats sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday seeking more “transparency” surrounding its actions that followed the recent release of a video that depicted star running back Ray Rice hitting his wife.
“Given the important role the NFL and other major professional sports leagues can play in shaping public perceptions concerning domestic violence,” the 12 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote. “It would appear to be in the public interest to have the highest level of transparency associated with reviews of potential misconduct.”
In an interview with CBS that aired Tuesday, Goodell insisted the NFL had requested to see the video of the former Baltimore Ravens running back knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in a casino elevator, but those requests weren’t granted. On Monday, TMZ released the video and Rice was subsequently released from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
Lawmakers said the public is ill-informed about the specifics of the request including “how relevant law enforcement responded.” The members, including House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich), also want to know whether or not Rice’s attorney, any other NFL employees or consultants, or the casino staff had requested the video.
The letter comes as Congress commemorates the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which provides assistance and protection to victims of domestic and relationship violence. The Democrats praised the NFL for recent changes to its policy for disciplining players who commit acts of domestic violence, but said professional leagues should “be at the forefront of handling” incidents of abuse.