As the Ray Rice scandal continues to reverberate across the sports and media world, 16 women in the US Senate wrote to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this week demanding he institute a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence.
The letter, spearheaded by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), calls on the Goodell to “send a strong message that the league will not tolerate violence against women by its players, who are role models for children across America.”
The senators go on to say they were “shocked and disgusted” by the video of Rice assaulting his then-fiancee, and note, “The NFL’s current policy sends a terrible message to players, fans and all Americans that even after committing a horrific act of violence, you can quickly be back on the field.”
Though they do not go as far as the National Organization for Women, which called on the commissioner to resign, they do emphasize that the league has a systemic problem beyond the Rice case: “Tragically, this is not the only case of an NFL player allegedly assaulting a woman even within the last year.”
Twelve Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Goodell calling for transparency in the league’s process for dealing with Rice, and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) wrote Goodell questioning the commissioner’s handling of the case.
The senators co-signing Thursday’s letter were Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).