Goodell: New conduct policy on way

NEW YORK -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday there have been too many recent examples of the NFL "doing wrong" and "that starts with me," and followed it up with a goal of implementing new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl.

Goodell was short on specifics for a new policy. More defiant than contrite as he was hammered with questions, Goodell said he has not considered resigning amid increasing criticism that the league hasn't acted quickly or emphatically enough concerning domestic abuse cases.

The commissioner reiterated that he botched the handling of the Ray Rice case.

"The same mistakes can never be repeated," he said.

Goodell said he would meet with NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith next week, and they would work with outside experts to evaluate the league's policies.

"The personal conduct policy is something that Roger and I have spent a tremendous amount of time talking about, perhaps not necessarily agreeing about, but hearing that they intend to have a discussion about overhauling that system is something that the union will have to be a part of," Smith said later Friday on CNN's "Unguarded."

Among the areas that will be examined is Goodell's role in discipline. The commissioner now oversees all personal conduct cases, deciding guilt and penalties.

He will establish a committee to review NFL personal conduct, seeking experts in the area of domestic abuse and violence to serve on it. Goodell's role with such a committee was not directly addressed.

"Nothing is off the table," he said.

Goodell said he believes he has the support of the NFL's owners, his bosses.

"That has been clear to me," he said.

The commissioner and some NFL teams have been heavily criticized for lenient or delayed punishment of Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players involved in recent domestic violence cases. Less than three weeks into the season, five such cases have made headlines.

Minnesota Vikings star running back Peterson and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy are on a special commissioner's exemption list and are being paid while they go through the legal process. Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list, meaning he can't play for the team again this season. Ray McDonald, a defensive end for San Francisco, continues to practice and play while being investigated on suspicion of domestic violence.

"You not only want to do something to address the issue," Smith said on CNN, "but I think you always want to do it in a way where you are making sure that people understand there is a right process, that people have a belief in the fundamental fairness and justice of the process."

As these cases have come to light, such groups as the National Organization of Women and league partners and sponsors have come down hard on the NFL to be more responsive in dealing with them. Congress also is watching to see how the NFL reacts.

After hearing what Goodell had to say Friday, NOW president Terry O'Neill reiterated calls for the commissioner to step down, saying he "did nothing to increase confidence in his ability to lead the NFL out of its morass."

"Glaringly absent from Mr. Goodell's remarks is a commitment to conduct an independent investigation into all of the incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on his watch," O'Neill said in her statement. " ... Roger Goodell's steadfast refusal to broach these questions speaks a lot louder than his formulaic mea culpas and repeated promises that he's going to do better."

Rice was initially suspended for two games. After defending the punishment at first, Goodell admitted more than a month later that he "didn't get it right" and announced tougher penalties for future domestic violent incidents. Then when a video emerged of Rice assaulting his then-fiancee, the Ravens cut the star running back and the league banned him indefinitely.

Goodell reiterated Friday that he didn't believe anybody at the NFL had seen the video before it was published by TMZ Sports. The Associated Press reported last week that a law enforcement official says he sent the video to a league executive five months ago.

Citing Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension, Goodell declined to specify Friday how the player's description of what happened was "inconsistent" with what the video showed -- the commissioner's reason for changing his punishment.

"The same mistakes can never be repeated."
Roger Goodell, referring to his handling of Ray Rice's case

The NFL asked former FBI director Robert Mueller to conduct an investigation into the league's handling of the Rice case. The law firm where Mueller is now a partner, WilmerHale, has connections to the league. Goodell insisted Friday that it wasn't a conflict of interest because Mueller himself has not previously worked with the NFL.

Goodell acknowledged he has learned that interviewing Rice and his now-wife together is an inappropriate way to handle a domestic violence case.

The commissioner declined to address whether any women were involved in the decision to suspend Rice for two games, but conceded that's "exactly what we're concerned about."

"We didn't have the right voices at the table," he added.

The NFL has since added domestic violence experts as consultants. It also announced it is partnering with a domestic violence hotline and a sexual violence resource center.

Goodell said Friday that he will establish a conduct committee. One of the key questions the NFL faces is how to balance the league's desire to take a stance against violent acts with the due process of the legal system.

In a memo to the clubs late Thursday, Goodell said that within the next 30 days, all NFL and team personnel will participate in education sessions on domestic violence and sexual assault. The memo said the league will work with the union in providing the "information and tools to understand and recognize domestic violence and sexual assault."

Colts receiver Reggie Wayne seemed confident that the league would overcome the turmoil of the past two weeks.

"In due time wounds will heal. Hopefully the NFL can kind of get a grip on everything and all the players can get a grip on whatever the rules are," Wayne said prior to Goodell's news conference.

Many players, including former NFL receiver Sidney Rice, tweeted while Goodell was speaking.

Added former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith:

Information from The Associated Press, NFL Nation reporter Kevin Seifert, ESPN.com Colts reporter Mike Wells and ESPN.com Saints reporter Mike Triplett was included in this report.