NFL team owners and executives gathered Wednesday at the annual fall meetings to discuss “social responsibility,” domestic violence and the league’s personal conduct policy. The presentation on domestic violence includes a powerful video by a former player appealing for recognition and action: Joe Ehrmann, a defensive tackle for 10 pro seasons (1973-82), encourages viewers to imagine what it would be like to see a loved one being subjected to abuse. He then urges intervention to curb such behaviour. “Think about the role you have to raise up a generation of men that are going to have the clarity, have the moral courage to call out other men,” Ehrmann says.
The video was part of a 40-minute presentation put together by the league with the help of a group of outside advisers. The goal is to educate everyone in the NFL about the dangers of spousal abuse, child abuse, sexual assault and other domestic violence topics.
There have been plenty of mistakes made recently by the league, most notably the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson abuse cases. In the midst of a maelstrom over how the league has handled those and other incidents, asked for a re-examination of the policy.
Moreover the league plans to announce an overhauled personal conduct policy at some point between now and the Super Bowl, and the changes could include a diminished role for the commissioner himself in the process.
“As I have said, everything is on the table,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the conclusion of the meetings at the Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan. “We’ve been debating internally for well over a year whether there’s a better process. At the same time, when something affects the integrity of the game, I think it’s important for the commissioner to retain that authority.”
Other matters addressed at the meeting included the formal approval of the sale of the Buffalo Bills to Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, which passed unanimously as the first item on the agenda Wednesday morning. Also they discussed the possibility of moving a team or teams to Los Angeles, something the league clearly wants to do. Candidates for such a move include the St. Louis Rams, the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers, but the discussion was more about logistics and potential stadium sites than it was about which team or teams might make the move.