TYLER (KYTX) NFL players, coaches and staff have a new rule to follow, and if someone breaks it, the penalties will be stiff. Thursday the NFL commissioner announced a new policy against domestic violence. The new policy comes one month after Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice admitted to assaulting his then fiancee. CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey spoke to east Texans who say they agree with the policy change.
This new policy is sending the message that athletes will get no special treatment when it comes to breaking the law. In fact, they're held to a higher standard across the board because they are role models.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the two game penalty for Rice was too lenient, but the new policy is much tougher
When NFL players hit the gridiron, they're playing for the world to see. But the new policy puts the spotlight on what they do off the field.
For NFL staff -- whether they're players or not -- the first domestic violence offense will result in a six week suspension. The second offense: a lifetime ban.
"You gotta start somewhere and that's good place to start because when they realize their careers are now on the line that they will choose better situation on how to handle the problem they may be having," said TK Gorman Athletic Director George Cumby. He got his start in the NFL with the Greenbay Packers.
Cumby said too often professional athletes are given a slap on the wrist when they do something wrong or break the law. He says this new policy is a change for the better.
"The money is so great now in the NFL and so it's really important for them to hit them where it hurts."
East Texas football fans say this change is beneficial for both the pros and the student athletes who look up to them.
"I think if especially if you hit a woman you should just be suspended for a whole year if that the whole season maybe two or three years afterward," said football fan Jatravian Neal.
"You need to start practicing good behavior now because everybody's looking," said football fan and parent Sherri Edwards. She has sons who play football. She said once players become professionals, they automatically become icons, and have a job to set a good example. That goes for drinking and drug use, un-sportsman-like conduct, and physical violence.
"I think it sets a positive example for the new and upcoming football players. It sets a bar that this is not going to be tolerated," said Edwards.
Although the lifetime ban would be implemented after the second offense, NFL personnel will be able to petition to return, however, just petitioning to be reinstated doesn't equal a mandatory return. The NFL will take into consideration previous offenses before this policy was enacted, and the nature of the offenses that led up to the ban.