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NFL Changes Its Personal Conduct Policy and Increases Penalties


The NFL has long been criticized for its handling of cases involving sexual misconduct and domestic violence. Now it’s taking a big step forward to address these issues which continue to plague the league.

According to the NY Times, the league is expanding its list of offenses that demand harsher penalties such as “sexual assault ‘involving threats or coercion’ and including “a pattern of conduct” and “offenses that involve planning.”

The changes come a year after the league’s dealings with Deshaun Watson, who was accused of sexual assault and misconduct by over two dozen women.

The NFL initially handed the case over to former federal judge Sue L. Robinson to sort through and she handed down a punishment of a six-game suspension with no fine for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

However, the NFL appealed the ruling based on the CBA, so the case returned to the league office, which then had the opportunity to send a message to all of its players and fans.

And that it did in the form of an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine. In addition, the new Browns QB had to commit to mandatory evaluation and treatment.

Now, almost a year later, the league is continuing its message to players that it’s taking these matters extremely seriously but instituting harsher punishments.

“We annually review our policies and programs with an eye toward continuous improvement based off previous experiences,” Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, said Monday in a statement.

The Times notes that the original policy called for a six-game suspension without pay for first-time offenders who “used physical violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault ‘involving physical force.’”

But with sexual assault involving threats or coercion being added to the list of offenses that demand stiffer penalties, a second violation could result in banishment from the league.

In addition, the updated policy states that the third-party disciplinary officer who first reviews any potential player conduct violation has the ability and discretion to impose harsher penalties on players for “other types of prohibited conduct.” That includes an indefinite suspension.

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