Roger Goodell: NFL has made 'tremendous progress' on domestic violence issue

On Tuesday, a week after documents revealed that Giants kicker Josh Brown admitted to abusing his wife, the team finally released him. The Giants and the NFL came under heavy criticism for not acting sooner.

Giants president and CEO John Mara said this in a statement following Brown's release:

"We believed we did the right at every juncture in our relationship with Josh. Our beliefs, our judgments, and our decision were misguided. We accept that responsibility."

A day later, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who promised reforms two years ago following the Ray Rice scandal, defended the process that initially saw Brown suspended for just a single game.

"What you see here is a [personal conduct] policy that's evolved," Goodell, told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News during the Chalk Talk show on WFAN, a CBS Sports Radio station. "We've learned a lot, but these are complex matters. When you talk to the domestic violence experts, these are difficult matters to deal with. You have rights, you have families that you have to be concerned with, privacy issues. Yes, you want to make sure you're doing everything possible to address these [alleged incidents] when they happen, but you also want to deal with them to prevent them from happening.

"I think we've made tremendous progress. Can we make more and will we make more? Of course."

Not sure the Josh Brown situation qualifies as "tremendous progress," particularly since, in the wake of the Rice case, the league implemented a new domestic-violence policy that included stiffer penalties -- at least on paper.

Here's what Goodell wrote in a letter to owners in August 2014:

"Effective immediately, violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force, will be subject to a suspension without pay of six games for a first offense, with consideration given to mitigating factors as well as a longer suspension when circumstances warrant."

Again: Josh Brown was suspended for one game. Here's how Goodell rationalized the punishment when asked about it last weekend.

"Well, you have to go and get the facts," the commissioner told the BBC's Richard Conway while in London for the Giants-Rams game. "We have asked repeatedly for those facts and the information that's been gathered by law enforcement both orally and in writing. And we weren't able to get access to it. So you have to make decisions on whatever information you have."

Later in the interview, Conway asked this: "The criticism that comes back to you is that people see punishments for touchdown celebrations but then only one game for a domestic violence incident. It must be very difficult to balance those things and explain them?"

Goodell's response: "I understand the public's misunderstanding of those things and how that can be difficult for them to understand how we get to those positions. But those are things that we have to do. I think it's a lot deeper and a lot more complicated than it appears but it gets a lot of focus."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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