Watch CBSN Live

NOW calls for Roger Goodell to step down as NFL commissioner

The National Organization for Women called for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to step down on Monday, saying in a statement the league "has lost its way."

They are not the first to question Goodell's ability to helm America's wealthiest and most popular sports league in the wake of the video released showing former star running back Ray Rice punching and knocking out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer.

"The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs. And the example it is setting right now is simply unacceptable," said NOW in a statement.

NFL chief under pressure over Ray Rice contro... 03:09

They and others have said that the initial two-game suspension of Ray Rice is not the only example of bad policy regarding domestic abuse by NFL players.

Also frequently cited is Ray McDonald, the San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman who was arrested for domestic violence just three days after Goodell issued so-called tough new guidelines for punishing domestic violence incidents. McDonald suited up and played the Sunday following his arrest.

Another example tarnishing Goodell's reputation is Greg Hardy, the Carolina Panthers defensive end who earned a jury conviction in July for choking and threatening to kill his then-girlfriend. Hardy was never suspended, but the NFL did take the time to let him know that his face paint violated the league's uniform code.

"The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign, and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms," the NOW statement said.

NFL commissioner on why league didn't see vio... 07:09

In an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Norah O'Donnell, Goodell admitted that on the entirety of the Ray Rice incident, "we didn't get this right. That's my responsibility. And I'm accountable for that."

Goodell, however, dismissed the idea that his job was in jeopardy.

"I'm used to criticism. I'm used to that. Every day, I have to earn my stripes. Every day, I have a better job," Goodell said.

Last year, Goodell earned $35.1 million in salary, according to Pro Football Talk, and much of that was in performance-based bonuses. His actual annual salary is likely significantly lower than that, which means the league is probably financially performing extremely well. So far, the league's team owners, who are technically Goodell's bosses, have been very supportive of him.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft on Ray Rice incident... 07:48

"The way he has handled this situation himself, coming out with the mea culpa in his statement a couple weeks ago, or 10 days ago, and setting a very clear policy of how we conduct ourselves in the NFL, I thought was excellent," New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said on "CBS This Morning." "Anyone who is second guessing that doesn't know him."

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank told Pro Football Talk in February the owners have tremendous respect for his "leadership," adding: "His significant accomplishments continue to strengthen our game, our business and our leading position in the sports industry."

The ripples from the Ray Rice incident has spread far beyond normal football circles. Even lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have begun to say it may be time for Goodell to think about stepping down.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., told The Hill newspaper that Goodell should "seriously" consider resigning.

When approached by a TMZ camera, Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., said Goodell now has "credibility issues," although he stopped short of saying Goodell ought to resign.

A recent editorial in The Washington Post called for former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to take the commissioner's chair in the NFL.

"Confidence in Goodell's leadership ought to be in tatters, too," wrote Jonathan Capehart. "Fans, particularly female fans and the wives and girlfriends of fans, should be appalled by everything he did and didn't do in the Rice matter."

While Condoleeza Rice has previously expressed interest in becoming NFL commissioner, she has remained publicly silent so far on the Ray Rice incident.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responds to Ja... 01:35

In its statement calling for Goodell to resign, NOW cited statistics from showing that a relatively high proportion of arrests for NFL players comes from domestic violence incidents. While the overall arrest rate for domestic violence incidents was significantly lower than the national average, it was still unusually high for people in the tax bracket that most NFL players populate.

In his "CBS This Morning" interview, Goodell said he believes the league does have to do better on the issue of domestic violence.

"We're saying we have a problem. We have one incident, that's a problem," Goodell said. "And what we want do is by the policy that we implemented two weeks ago and say, "We haven't done this right.' We have had lots of conversations, lots of listening and learning right here in this room with experts not just in the last two weeks or three weeks or month, but over the last couple of years to say, 'How can we deal with this issue better? How can we prevent the cases from happening? And when they do happen, how can we send the right message to say, 'this is unacceptable'?"

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue