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U.S. Senators Criticize, Goodell Defends Ray Rice 2-Game Suspension

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Ray Rice fallout. Nationwide outrage is growing over the NFL's two-game suspension of Ray Rice for knocking his wife unconscious in a casino.

As the commissioner answers his first questions on the controversy, three U.S. senators are asking him to reconsider his penalty.

Mike Hellgren has more on the controversy.

Ray Rice's public comments have done little to stem the growing outcry that his suspension of just two games for hitting his wife is too lenient.

But the man who made that decision, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, defended it.

"We're very confident this young man understands where he is and what he needs to do going forward," Goodell said.

Among those outraged is a group of three senators--two from Connecticut and one from Wisconsin--who wrote letters to both Goodell and Ravens management demanding a tougher penalty.

To read the letter to Goodell, click here.

They say the current suspension "...reflects a disturbingly lenient, even cavalier attitude towards violence against women."

"This instance of clearly inadequate punishment was in essence a mockery of what we should be doing," Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said.

Despite a rocky few months, Ravens management has continued to stand behind Rice. It's unclear whether any of this will make a difference.

"There ought to be a suspension much more lengthy, and a monetary penalty much more sizable," said Blumenthal.

While both of Maryland's senators agree the punishment is too light, their signatures have not joined those of their colleagues.

When asked if he'd sign the letter, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin said: "I expressed myself. I think that's the appropriate role. This is not a congressional issue, but I think people should know how senators stand on it. What Ray Rice did was outrageous, and I think the penalty that has handed down by the NFL was inadequate."

NFL Commissioner Goodell had drawn some flack for meeting with Ray Rice's wife, Janay, before making his decision. He said Friday he felt that meeting was appropriate.

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski called the NFL's punishment tepid and said they need to make clear domestic violence will not be tolerated.

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