US Senators call on Goodell to give Rice harsher punishment

By Ryan Wilson |

Several U.S. Senators think Ray Rice's two-game suspension wasn't enough. (USATSI)
Several U.S. Senators think Ray Rice's two-game suspension wasn't enough. (USATSI)

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Now that everybody on Capitol Hill has weighed in on the Redskins name controversy, the men and women elected to represent the people have moved on to a new sports-related target: the NFL and Ravens running back Ray Rice.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) sent letters to commissioner Roger Goodell calling for Rice to face a harsher punishment beyond the two-game suspension handed down by the league and considered too lenient by many critics.

“The decision to suspend Mr. Rice for a mere two games sends the inescapable message that the NFL does not take domestic or intimate-partner violence with the seriousness they deserve,” the letter read.

“Mr. Rice's suspension reflects a disturbingly lenient, even cavalier attitude towards violence against women. We therefore urge you to take two steps immediately. First, reconsider and revise Mr. Rice's suspension to more adequately reflect the seriousness of his offense. We are also writing to the Baltimore Ravens to request that they impose additional discipline under their own authority, but it is imperative that the NFL itself makes clear that this conduct is truly unacceptable.”

Earlier this week, NFL vice president Adolpho Birch called Rice's punishment "appropriate," and Ravens coach John Harbaugh said “I love the way (Rice has) handled it" but "I hate what happened."

On Thursday, Rice spoke to the media for the first time since training camp opened and called the altercation with his wife "my lowest low," adding that "I made a huge mistake."

And on Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell said of Rice's two-game suspension, "We have to remain consistent. We can't just make up the discipline. It has to be consistent with other cases and it was."

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