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May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on stage during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports / Adam Hunger Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since the NFL announced a two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the ban and said it was "consistent with other cases."

"Our policy is clear on this" Goodell told reporters Friday in Canton, Ohio, as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities. "We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL and that there will be consequences for that.

"When we're going through the process of evaluating the issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that you have available to us. Law enforcement normally has more ‚?? on a normal basis ‚?? has more information, facts, than we have. We'll get as much as we possibly can. And then you also have the opportunity to sit down with the individual, and maybe others, to determine how that individual is reacting to it.

"I think what's important here is that Ray is being accountable for it. He recognizes he made a horrible mistake and he knows what he did is unacceptable by his standards and by our standards.

"I was also very impressed with Ray in the sense that Ray is not only accepting this issue but he's saying, 'I was wrong.' I want to see people, when they make a mistake, I want to see them take responsibility and be accountable for it."

Rice received the suspension and will lose three game checks for a February incident at an Atlantic City hotel in which he was charged with aggravated assault against his then-fiancée. Security cameras caught Rice pulling an apparently unconscious Janay Rice (nee Palmer) out of an elevator.

The couple has since married. Rice avoided a trial by entering a pre-trial diversion program in May.

Reaction to news of the suspension, announced July 24, has been mostly negative.

Goodell said Rice's previous history was taken into account when determining the length of the discipline.

"Ray Rice did not have another incident," Goodell said. "There were other cases, and we take them into account. We have to remain consistent. We can't just make up the discipline. It has to be consistent with other cases and it was consistent with other cases.

"In this case, there was no discipline by the criminal justice system, he was put into a diversionary program."

Much of the criticism hurled at the NFL has centered on the apparent discrepancy between suspensions that result from violations of the league's drug policy, versus those incurred through the code of personal conduct.

"When we have a drug program that is collectively bargained, it takes four incidents before you actually reach a suspension," Goodell said.

Though he held a press conference in May, Rice faced questions about the incident for the first time Thursday at Ravens training camp and showed contrition, saying he "made the biggest mistake" of his life.

The Ravens coaching staff and front office has expressed support for Rice throughout the process. Rice is allowed to practice with the team during training and play in the preseason.

"We're very confident that this young man understands what he did and will move forward," Goodell said.

In other disciplinary matters, Goodell was asked about whether there would be discipline for the players involved in the Miami Dolphins hazing scandal. The report from investigator Ted Wells outlined behavior by former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, current New York Giants guard John Jerry and Dolphins center Mike Pouncey. Pouncey is scheduled to miss at least the first half of the season with a hip injury.

Goodell did not indicate whether suspensions would happen before the start of the season.

"There are different issues with different individuals," Goodell said. "The bottom line is everything is proceeding and they are doing everything they have been asked to do. We will make individual decisions, if necessary, with any one of those individuals."

Goodell lauded Incognito for his progress.

"I would say the one person that has been very responsive and gone through the program is Richie Incognito," he said. "We are working with his people and monitoring his progress and it's gone well."

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter: @Lorenzo_G_Reyes



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Roger Goodell defends Ray Rice's two-game suspension

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