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NFL chief refuses to step down over handling of domestic abuse cases

Roger Goodell promises changes, but falls short of announcing specific amendments to the league's disciplinary policy

National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday that he would not step down despite ongoing criticism over the league’s handling of a series of domestic abuse cases involving players. 

Goodell, 55, made his first public statements in more than a week on the topic, but did not announce any specific changes in disciplinary policy.

"Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong," Goodell told the media. "That starts with me."

Goodell has been under fire because of the NFL's slow and fumbling response to a widely publicized case of domestic violence involving Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice and to other cases that came to light afterward.

Goodell said on Friday that NFL personnel and staff will be required to undergo training on the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault starting within 30 days. He also said the league will partner with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

“Nothing is off the table. Let me say it again, we will implement new conduct policies,” Goodell said, without mentioning specifics. 

“I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter,” he said. “And I'm sorry for that. 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."

Less than three weeks into the season, domestic violence cases involving NFL players Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer have made headlines.

Carolina defensive end Hardy and Arizona running back Dwyer are on a special commissioner's exemption list and are being paid while they face legal proceedings. McDonald, a defensive end for San Francisco, continues to practice and play while being investigated on suspicion of domestic violence.

Al Jazeera and wire services 

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