Goodell addressed the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy and domestic abuse issues from New York City on Friday. Women's groups and disappointed fans have been pressuring the league for weeks to take more serious action.
"These incidents demonstrate that we can use the NFL to help create change, not only in our league, but in society with respect to domestic violence and sexual assault," Goodell said.
He pledged to change current policies related to employee and player conduct and discipline so that there are "a set of clear and transparent rules." He added that he will have a committee established to oversee these changes by the Super Bowl this coming February.
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The league has come under fire over the past several weeks for the actions of some of its players. As the commissioner admitted, "I'm here now because our rules, policies and procedures on personal conduct failed to ensure that this high standard is met." Still, Goodell said he never considered resigning—as some had demanded.
The commissioner said he takes personal responsibility for these changes moving forward, saying that "I believe in accountability. I understand the challenges before me, and I will be held accountable for meeting them."
Goodell, who has acted as the sole judge and jury for all disciplinary issues, would not say if he will be ceding this role, only repeating that "everything is on the table" moving forward.
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In a press release response to the speech, Terry O'Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, said that Goodell "did nothing to increase confidence in his ability to lead the NFL out of its morass."
"What Mr. Goodell doesn't seem to understand is that he should be aiming to make fundamental changes in the organization," O'Neill said. "Glaringly absent from Mr. Goodell's remarks is a commitment to conduct an independent investigation into all of the incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on his watch."