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A few weeks ago, the NFL issued a meaningless 2 game suspension to Ray Rice for punching and knocking out his girlfriend. After the suspension was handed down, there was a massive outcry and criticism against the NFL for handing out such a lean punishment. Roger Goodell heard the outcry and issued a revised league discipline plan for anyone accused of domestic violence. The new plan sends the message that the Ray Rice suspension didn’t send a clear enough message that domestic violence will not be tolerated.

Roger Goodell issued a policy that said if a player is accused of domestic violence, a first offense would cost a player a 6 game suspension without pay and a second offense would cost the player his career. So I applaud Mr. Goodell for righting a wrong. Although he cannot re-punish Mr. Rice, he has taken a stand for violations going forward. Going forward a player will be facing not only criminal prosecution but also a boatload of lost money. The NFL’s minimum salary is $420,000 or $26,250 a game over a 6 games (that player would lose $157,500, more than a quarter of a players yearly salary).

I think the other 3 leagues should follow suit. The NHL and NBA should issue suspensions of 25 games and lifetime bans for a second offense. MLB should hand out a 90-day suspension (about 80 games) and a lifetime ban after that[1]. Our professional leagues have a responsibility to the community and our nation’s children to set positive role models. Whether we like it or not, athletes are looked at by our children as heroes. The league sells that hero image with player names on merchandise. Sending a message that domestic violence will not be tolerated is a message worth sending to not only the player but the people watching the games and idolizing the players.

[1] I based the punishments on length of season and the percentage 6 games equals in the NFL season just over a quarter of the season.

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