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Roger Goodell defends Ray Rice suspension, calls it ‘consistent’ with other punishments by league

08.01.14 at 2:03 pm ET
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The NFL sent many people into a public outrage last week when it slapped Ravens running back Ray Rice with a meager two-game suspension for allegedly knocking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer unconscious in the elevator of a New Jersey casino.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, however, stood by the league’s decision decision when he met with the media for the first time since the ruling, calling the length of the ban “consistent” with other punishments handed out by the league.

“We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL, and there are consequences for that,” Goodell said Friday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. “Obviously, when we are going through the process of evaluating an issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that are available to us.”

Added Goodell: “We have to remain consistent. We can’t just make up the discipline. It has be consistent with other cases, and it was in this matter.”

Rice was arrested on Feb. 15 for the alleged incident. He pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May.

“I take into account all of the information before I make a decision on what the discipline will be,” Goodell said. “In this case, there was no discipline by the criminal justice system.

“They put him in that diversionary program, and I had seen Ray after that. I had the opportunity to hear from him, hear from his wife and hear from other people that he had brought into the hearing process, and I put all of that together to make a decision.”

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