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Roger Goodell Addresses Personal Conduct Policy At Fall Owner's Meetings

Intro: Earlier this week, NFL owners took to downtown New York for the fall league meetings. What did league commissioner Roger Goodell have to say to the media following the day of meetings?


NEW YORK – After a day full of meetings with NFL Owners, Roger Goodell headed downstairs at the Conrad Hotel in Manhattan to address the media.

The obvious focus of the one-day fall meetings was on the league's personal conduct policy.

Here's a look at Goodell's update on that and other issues discussed earlier this week in New York:

On the league's personal conduct policy:

"We had a tremendous focus today on our approach to social responsibility. As all of you know, we educated the owners and other executives that were in the room today. That education will continue with all personnel starting this month and I think the reaction was very good to that. They found it informative, obviously educational which is the intent of it.

"We also spent a great deal of time talking about our policies – what we need to do, potential changes to our policies, how we would make them more effective, how we would make decisions maybe on a more timely basis and some of the alternatives in there. To that point, we talked specifically about the investigation process. Questions were debated about whether we should continue to be completely reliant on law enforcement or have independent investigations and the time period in which those investigations would occur. There were discussion about basing decisions, maybe interim decisions, including leave of absence, on findings of fact by a court or some legal entity, a law enforcement entity. We talked about discipline procedures, which is something that we have been talking about for quite some time within the NFL circles about what's the right process to be able to come to conclusions either on short-term decisions about having access to continue to play or the longer-term decisions about ultimate discipline and whether the due process continues until the legal process continues. All of these things we were debating today and of course there was a great deal of focus too on what support services we can provide to the family, particularly in the cases obviously of domestic violence to the victim, to children if that's appropriate and to the perpetrator himself or herself. There was a great deal of discussion about all of those options and it was a very, very significant discussion. I would say we probably spent five of the hours today on these issues."

On if there were any strong feelings by owners as to how to handle the decisions to be made after a player is arrested, but before the legal process plays out in terms of playing status:

"There were strong feelings. They obviously understand the balance between due process and protecting the integrity of the game and sometimes that puts you in a difficult position. 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, and allow the individual to focus on the legal issues, the legal challenges, their family, whatever the issues may be and allow the team to continue to focus on football. There was a lot of discussion about that and a lot of it was based on the time that it takes to do that. How long would it take to get that information? We don't control the legal process, obviously. If you have an independent investigation, can you get enough information to verify whether it's reasonable that some type of infraction occurred to our personal conduct policy? So there was a lot of debate about that and a lot of discussion."

On the timeline for the personal conduct policy to be implemented:

"We are working consistently on this. Nonstop on this. We continue our meetings with outside experts, people that can give us perspective, whether they are in the military or law-enforcement, with former players, the union. We'll have another meeting with the union next week. So we are continuing our work with the intention to do this as quickly as possible. But most importantly, we want to make sure that this is thorough. That this is done right. We won't let perfect get in the way of better. But we certainly want to make sure that we get the right kind of policy in place as quickly as possible. I have no reason to believe that we will exceed the timeline I gave you. I think we will beat it, but we'll see."

On a team returning to Los Angeles:

"I have always been reluctant, until we have a solution, to project where we are. There are reasons for optimism. But that can change also. Until we have a solution that we are all comfortable with and the ownership has voted on it, I'm not going to comment about whether that is realistic or if that's a high probability or not. What we want to do is make sure we are doing the work to evaluate the alternatives and understand those alternatives. If there is an alternative that makes sense we will bring that to the membership. But until we do that, I couldn't make any projections about whether we are closer or not. To me, at the end of the day, it's not about whether we are closer, it's about whether we get there. We are either going to get there and do it successfully or we are not."

On the Pegulas, the new Bills ownership, and their commitment to Western New York:

"It was a very strong consensus by the owners. It was 32-0 so you don't get that kind of support unless you really presented yourself in a positive fashion. I think this was a great outcome for western New York, for Bills fans and for the NFL. Both Terry and Kim are outstanding people who went through the process with class. It was a very quick process. That's a tribute to people who ran the process but also to both Terry and Kim. We're very excited about their involvement in the league and I think they enjoyed the meeting. I had a chance to speak with them towards the end of the meeting and felt that the meeting was very productive from their standpoint and they're enthusiastic about their ownership."

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