NFL owners: ‘I would have never thought it was happening’
The NFL Players Association said Monday that it’s suspending players over their handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, as well as a similar incident involving a different player.
In a statement, NFLPA President Eric Winston said the league has found “a pattern of conduct by players that has led to this unacceptable situation.”
He said the union is suspending the NFL Players Council, its committee on player safety, and its executive committee.
The NFLPA also said it has begun an investigation of players’ personal conduct and conduct that could lead to discipline.
The league is scheduled to announce its new head coach later this month.
The suspension of players could lead a shift in how the league is viewed by some fans, who may see the league as an example of the NFL being too soft on domestic violence.
Winston said the NFLPA was disappointed by what it called a “hostile” and “disgraceful” environment that had created for the league and its players.
He said he was disappointed that a number of players have been suspended or dismissed from the league.
Winton said the suspension was based on a “pattern of conduct” that included a player’s alleged conduct in the aftermath of the Rice domestic assault.
He added that he is also disappointed that “an important and important issue” about domestic violence is being ignored by some players, and he said the suspensions “are necessary to ensure that our players will be treated fairly and appropriately by our league.”
Winston also said the players will work with the NFL’s independent investigations division and its compliance unit, and that the NFL would be “disciplined if it continues to tolerate conduct that is inconsistent with the spirit of our collective bargaining agreement.”
The league has suspended 10 players for violating the terms of the league’s collective bargaining deal, including two who are also in their 30s.
The suspensions range from two to five years.