NBA to Review Domestic Violence Policies: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2014

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As embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell continues to face a wave of public criticism due to his poor handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is taking steps to ensure his league won't face the same fate.   

Speaking with ESPN's Ian Begley, Silver indicated the NBA is in the process of reviewing its current policy on domestic violence:

Ian Begley @IanBegley

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the league will take a fresh look at its domestic violence policies in light of what's gone on in the NFL

Ian Begley @IanBegley

Adam Silver says the NBA learns "from other league's experiences. We're studying everything that's been happening with the NFL."

The NBA, MLB and NHL do not have specific punishments for domestic violence in their collective bargaining agreements, per Nina Mandell of USA Today. The NFL, which has faced a ton of scorn over the last few months, recently enacted a policy that disciplines players with a six-game suspension for the first offense and a lifetime ban for the second.

The NBA's current policy, which treats all felonies under one umbrella, calls for a 10-game suspension.

“When a player is convicted of (including a plea of guilty, no contest, or nolo contendere) a violent felony, he shall immediately be suspended by the NBA for a minimum of ten games,” the league's collective bargaining agreement reads, per the New York Daily News.

It's likely that all three leagues will be reviewing their policies in the coming weeks and months given the intense scrutiny the NFL has faced. 

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Rice was initially suspended for two games after footage leaked of the then-Baltimore Ravens running back dragging his unconscious fiancee, Janay Palmer, out of an Atlantic City casino elevator. Though widely viewed as being too lenient of a punishment at the time, Goodell and Ravens management stood by the decision until earlier this month, when TMZ exposed a graphic video of Rice striking his now-wife with a closed fist.

The Ravens released Rice within hours, and Goodell extended his suspension indefinitely. With Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson facing charges of child abuse in Texas and Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer and Ray McDonald each facing domestic violence charges, Goodell addressed the media Friday to outline his attempt to move forward with a new, better policy on violent crime.

“I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter and I’m sorry for that," Goodell told the gathered reporters, via Pro Football Talk. "I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process that I led to the decision that I reached. But now I will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that."

Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

The session later turned ugly when Goodell opened the floor for a question-and-answer session. Struggling at times to answer straightforward questions, the chorus of criticism grew louder from most circles. A day before the press conference, Silver was one of a select few people who came out in defense of Goodell's job status.

"He's doing the best he can under difficult circumstances," Silver told TMZ. "He's been a great commissioner so far and he'll work his way through these issues."

Uncredited/Associated Press

Silver, who took over for longstanding NBA commissioner David Stern in February, has earned numerous plaudits for his handling of the Donald Sterling case. Sterling, then the Los Angeles Clippers owner, was heard making racist remarks in a recorded conversation with his girlfriend at the time. Silver banned Sterling for life within days of the recordings coming to light and helped facilitate a $2 billion purchase of the franchise by Steve Ballmer—the largest in United States sports history.

The NBA has had a few high-profile domestic violence cases over the last few years. Free-agent center Greg Oden is currently awaiting trial for felony assault after allegedly punching his ex-girlfriend in the face on Aug. 7. The trial is scheduled to begin in November, per ESPN.com's Michael Wallace.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham, Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger and Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson each had cases dropped within the last year. The Celtics suspended Sullinger for one game despite his case being dismissed. The Oklahoma City Thunder waived guard DeAndre Liggins after his September arrest; Liggins later copped a plea deal and most recently signed a 10-day contract with the Heat in March.    

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