Sep 27, 2014 9:06 PM

NFL commissioner visits domestic violence hotline

The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Facing criticism about the handling recent abuse cases, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell paid a visit Saturday night to the headquarters of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

"Doing the work, as they say," was all Goodell would say when as he and several league officials walked into the nondescript, unmarked building in suburban Austin for what was expected to be about a two-hour private meeting. He gave a brief wave to cameras when he stepped out of his limousine.

Goodell and the league have been heavily criticized over how they handled the recent suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who punched his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in the face in an elevator.

The league was criticized as not acting quickly or emphatically enough when handling domestic violence cases and Goodell has said he mishandled the Rice case.

Goodell said he was invited to the hotline offices but did not elaborate as he walked in the door and ignored further questions. The NFL recently announced a plan to donate millions annually to the hotline and other domestic violence-prevention groups.

Goodell met with 11 former players this week and was told the league must act immediately when someone is accused of domestic violence.

The hotline was created in 1996 and receives about 70 percent just over $3 million of its budget from the federal government and the rest from private donations.

Hotline officials declined comment prior to Goodell's visit. The hotline web page said that as of 2013, the service had helped more than 3.4 million people on issues of domestic violence or dating abuse.

Initially, Goodell suspended Rice who has since married Palmer for two games. After criticism, Goodell announced new stiffer penalties for future domestic violence cases. After video of the punch was released, the Ravens cut Rice and Goodell suspended him indefinitely.

League and Ravens officials said they requested the video from law enforcement but were denied. ESPN and others have reported that the Ravens had a detailed description of the video shortly after Rice was arrested.

After the AP reported that the video was sent to NFL headquarters, Goodell announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller would lead an internal investigation. That probe is ongoing, and there is no timetable for its completion.


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