White House: NFL should have 'zero tolerance' for domestic violence

The White House said the NFL should have a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence.
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The White House said the NFL should have a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence, a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.

The league's handling of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's domestic violence incident has been criticized since video of him punching his then-fiancée was released.

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald and Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer have been arrested recently for domestic violence, while Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is appealing his domestic violence conviction. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted on child abuse charges.

• BRANDT: Blame for Rice case goes beyond Goodell

While discussing a new campaign to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, a White House official said the NFL needs to "get a handle" on its approach to domestic violence.

"The NFL has an obligation not only to their fans but to the American people to properly discipline anyone involved in domestic violence or child abuse and more broadly, gain control of the situation," the official continued.

"Many of these professional athletes are marketed as role models to young people and so their behavior does have the potential to influence these young people, and it's one of the many reasons it's important that the league get a handle on this and have a zero tolerance."

Earlier this month President Barack Obama said "hitting a woman is not something a real man does" in a statement in response to the release of the Rice video.

Jerry Rice: 49ers should bench Ray McDonald

- Paul Palladino