The NFL is considering using an independent panel of experts to decide how to handle players and other employees who are arrested and awaiting their legal process to play out, according to a memo sent by commissioner Roger Goodell obtained by the Washington Post.
If the league decides to use a third party panel, the group would decide whether to place players on paid leave following an arrest.
An NFL owners meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in New York. According to the memo, one of the things that will also be discussed is what Goodell's role should be in the disciplinary process.
The memo leaves open the possibility of the league taking further steps to hold teams accountable for misconduct by players and other employees, and raises the issue of whether the NFL should announce a new personal conduct policy for non-player personnel before it announces its new conduct policy for players.
The NFL has come under scrutiny for the way it has handled recent cases of allegations and arrests, including domestic violence cases regarding Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer and a child injury case involving Adrian Peterson.
Hardy was convicted by a judge in July and is appealing the ruling. He played in the Carolina Panthers first game of the season, then agreed to be placed on the Commissioner's Exempt list. Hardy will continue to be paid, as will Peterson, who also agreed to go on the exempt list following his indictment.
In August, the NFL instituted a new domestic violence policy. A first offense now results in a six game suspension and a second offense equals a lifetime ban.
- Molly Geary