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Goodell: We need to balance due process with protecting the game

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In the wake of his disastrous response to the Ray Rice domestic violence case, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is grappling with revamping its personal conduct policy.

Goodell noted that players who are accused of crimes are entitled to due process in a court of law, but he said the NFL’s owners want the ability to take players accused of crimes (like Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy) off the field while a criminal case is ongoing.

“They obviously understand the balance between due process and protecting the integrity of the game, and sometimes that puts you in a difficult position,” Goodell said. “When there is strong evidence to the fact that a violation occurred, the question is whether there should be some type of interim step, like a paid leave.”

Goodell acknowledged his own mistakes in the Rice case and said that he’s open to changes in the personal-conduct policy, including potentially giving up his current status as the judge and one-man jury in personal-conduct cases.

“Everything’s on the table,” Goodell said. “It’s my job to admit mistakes but more importantly it’s my job to go and figure out how we’re not going to have those mistakes occur again.”

To prevent those mistakes from happening again, Goodell may need to allow someone else to have final say on personal conduct matters.