By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell told reporters Monday he would review the NFL’s new domestic violence policy with the team, and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford provided some insight into the conversation.
“The biggest thing is the league sent out some stuff as far as what the repercussions would be and things of that nature,” Stafford said Tuesday. “It kind of goes without saying that [Caldwell] feels that way, we all feel that way, that it’s obviously something that’s illegal, it’s not correct to do, and it’s something that the league has taken a stance on, and an appropriate one at that.
“We’re in [agreement] with him, no question about it,” Stafford added. “It’s just something that he wanted to make sure that he brought to light and touched on as a team.”
The policy change came following public outcry over the two-game suspension handed to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who knocked unconscious the woman who is now his wife.
The NFL defended its punishment of Rice at first, saying it had to be consistent with earlier cases. Many people were outraged, however, that a player could receive a shorter suspension for hitting his wife than for testing positive for illegal or performance-enhancing drugs, offenses that often trigger bans of four or more games.
Criticism of the NFL’s punishment of Rice did not abate, and commissioner Roger Goodell eventually reversed course.
He wrote in a memo to owners that he made the wrong decision in the Rice situation, and he announced guidelines for stiffer punishments for future cases of domestic violence – six games for a first offense and a possible full-season ban for a second offense.
Caldwell spoke in support of the change Monday.
“My thoughts are just like anything else in which the NFL decides that is best for the league, that there are rules that we should enforce and make certain they’re enforced,” Caldwell said. “We should support them wholeheartedly, and we should make certain that our team understands them explicitly from top to bottom and even the spirit of the rule. So, I’m certainly in favor of it. and thus we’ll express that to the team as well.”