NFL revisions to Personal conduct policy includes paid leave if charged with violent crime


With the high profile cases of former Ravens running back Ray Rice, and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson dominating headlines this season, the NFL announced it would make changes to their personal conduct policy. This season the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to be making it up as they went along when it came to disciplinary action and protocol in recent situations.

On Wednesday, the NFL owners unanimously approved a revised personal conduct policy.

The new policy takes effect immediately. Among the key changes:

• The NFL will hire a special counsel for investigations and control who will oversee initial discipline.

• If charged with a violent crime, players will be placed on paid leave.

• The commissioner will maintain a role in the appeals process but also may appoint a panel of independent experts to participate in deciding an appeal.

Goodell said Wednesday that the person hired to fill the special counsel role will be a “highly qualified individual with a criminal justice background.”

New Personal Conduct Policy Memo

“The person will oversee our investigations and decide the discipline for violations of the policy,” he added.

After the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases, a more extensive list of prohibited conduct will be included in the policy, as well as specific criteria for paid leave for anyone charged with a violent crime.

A six-game suspension without pay for violations involving assault, sexual assault, battery, domestic violence, child abuse and other forms of family violence will be in effect, but with consideration given to mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

“The policy is comprehensive,” Goodell said. “It is strong. It is tough. And it is better for everyone associated with the NFL.

“I have stated it many times: Being part of the NFL is a privilege. It is not a right. The measures adopted today uphold that principle.”

The NFL Players Association issued their own statement. The NFLPA is unhappy that the changes weren’t collectively bargained.

“Our union has not been offered the professional courtesy of seeing the NFL’s new personal conduct policy before it hit the presses,” the union said. “Their unilateral decision and conduct today is the only thing that has been consistent over the past few months.”

The NFL is positioning this as putting the victims first with these changes. A great position to also maintain support in the court of public opinion, while the PA isn’t going against the “victims” they want to ensure that the rights of the players are upheld.

“Each is a societal problem that is frequently underreported,” Goodell writes. “As a league, we must have a continued focus on the needs of victims and families; among other things, we must encourage victims and those who observe such misconduct to come forward, to report offenses, and to seek help.”