Two members of Congress have asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to clarify whether teams can lose draft picks if they do not properly address domestic violence.
WASHINGTON – Two members of Congress have asked league commissioner Roger Goodell to clarify whether teams can lose draft picks if they do not properly address domestic violence.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Goodell, Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., wrote: “We urge you to create accountability at all levels of the NFL, particularly among team owners, who have the most direct financial incentives to avoid long-term suspensions and quickly get players back on the field.”
The letter noted the league has docked clubs draft picks in the past, such as when the New Orleans Saints were investigated for a bounty system and when the New England Patriots were caught videotaping an opponent’s sideline signals.
“We support this potential disciplinary action as a significant indication that the NFL takes these issues very seriously and intends to hold teams responsible for allowing cultures of violence and abuse,” Schatz and Speier wrote.
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Asked by The Associated Press to comment, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said: “We look forward to responding to the letter.”
Domestic violence became a major topic of discussion last season for the NFL because of a series of cases involving players, notably former Baltimore running back Ray Rice.
Inglewood OKs stadium plans
INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The Inglewood City Council approved plans to build a stadium that includes St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke as a partner, perhaps clearing a path for the Los Angeles area to have an NFL team for the first time in two decades.
The council approved the $2 billion plan with a 5-0 vote after a meeting with several hours of public comment.
The vote adopts a new redevelopment plan without calling for a public vote, effectively kick-starting construction and sidestepping lengthy environmental review of issues such as noise, traffic and air pollution.
It adds the 80,000-seat, 60-acre stadium to an existing 2009 plan to redevelop the former Hollywood Park racetrack site with homes, offices, stores, parks and open space and a hotel.
• A federal-government decision to cancel the Washington team’s trademark infringes on free-speech rights, lawyers argued in court papers.
The team wants to overturn a decision last year by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel the Redskins’ trademark on the grounds it might be offensive to Native Americans. But the team’s attorneys say the law barring registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.
The trademark board’s decision unfairly singles out the team “for disfavored treatment based solely on the content of its protected speech, interfering with the ongoing public discourse over the Redskins’ name by choosing sides and cutting off the debate. This the U.S. Constitution does not tolerate,” the lawyers write in their brief.
The lawyers argue the government has no business deciding the team name is disparaging and undeserving of trademark protection while deeming other names, such as Braves, to be content-neutral and allowable for trademarks.
A hearing is set for May 5.
• The New York Giants released defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka in a move that clears about $4.8 million of space under the league’s salary cap.
The NFL Players Association estimates the new salary cap will rise to $143 million. Cutting Kiwanuka’s contract, which had a year to run, increased the Giants’ cap space to nearly $23 million. A big chunk of the total will likely go to either signing unrestricted defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, 26, to a long-term deal or placing the nearly $15 million franchise tag on him.