Former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said that during his 30 years in the league, teams did not discipline players in "hundreds and hundreds" of domestic violence cases.
Angelo was the GM of the Bears from 2001-2012, and before that spent 14 years as the Buccaneers' director of player personnel.
"I made a mistake,'' Angelo said. "I was human. I was part of it. I'm not proud of it.''
He said teams used to "gloss over" domestic violence cases, and that the typical reaction to one was to ask the player if everyone was OK and then just move on. He said he didn't report cases to the league because if the player was disciplined, it would've hurt the team.
"We knew it was wrong,'' Angelo said. "… For whatever reason, it just kind of got glossed over. I'm no psychiatrist, so I can't really get into what that part of it is. I'm just telling you how I was. I've got to look at myself first. And I was part of that, but I didn't stand alone.''
Angelo said the release of a video showing Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée in an elevator is what changed his perspective and made him feel guilty for what he did.
"We had never seen that before. I had never seen video on domestic violence. I think that's what got everybody's attention," Angelo said.
On Thursday, the Bears released a statement responding to Angelo's comments:
“We were surprised by Jerry’s comments and do not know what he is referring to.”
The NFL recently changed its domestic violence policy in light of Rice's case and how it was handled. The NFL is also currently dealing with domestic violence cases involving the Panthers' Greg Hardy, the 49ers Ray McDonald and the Cardinals' Jonathan Dwyer.
A first offense now results in a six-game suspension, and a second results in a lifetime ban.
On Wednesday, commissioner Roger Goodell said NFL owners spent five hours discussing domestic violence issues at a meeting.
- Molly Geary