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WH official: NFL needs to ‘get a handle’ on abuse

A senior White House official on Thursday said the National Football League (NFL) needs to “get a handle” on its problems with players who commit acts of child abuse and domestic violence.

Recent revelations that star players had committed acts of abuse are “really deeply troubling,” the administration official said, adding that the league should “have a zero tolerance” policy, according to CBS News.

“The NFL has an obligation not only to their fans but to the American people to properly discipline anyone involved in domestic violence or child abuse and more broadly, gain control of the situation,” the official said.

{mosads}The NFL has come under fire after a series of high-profile domestic abuse arrests. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was indefinitely suspended after video surfaced of him brutally punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in a casino elevator, and Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson was handed a lesser penalty following his arrest for child abuse.

Other players, including Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy have also been suspended over domestic violence allegations.

“Many of these professional athletes are marketed as role models to young people, and so their behavior does have the potential to influence these young people, and it’s one of the many reasons it’s important that the league get a handle on this and have a zero tolerance,” the White House official said.

Although the president has not publicly weighed in on the controversy, press secretary Josh Earnest issued a rare statement following the release of the Rice video earlier this month condemning his actions.

“The president is the father of two daughters. And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society,” Earnest said. “Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that’s true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors. Stopping domestic violence is something that’s bigger than football — and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it.”

Vice President Biden told NBC News the Ravens “did the right thing” by releasing Rice following the release of the video.

On Monday, the NFL announced it was hiring four female advisers to help “help lead and shape the NFL’s policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault.”

“Because domestic violence and sexual assault are broad societal issues, we have engaged leading experts to provide specialized advice and guidance in ensuring that the NFL’s programs reflect the most current and effective approaches,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a memo obtained by Sports Business Journal.

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