It's a topic that has dominated sports talk shows all week. Now, California's two U.S. Senators have joined more than a dozen of their female colleagues to weigh in on the videotaped punch that knocked out the fiance of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
In a letter to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, 16 female senators urge the NFL to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for players who assault women.
Initially, the NFL gave Rice a two-game suspension. But after the videotape of the elevator assault became public, the league upped their suspension policy on domestic assault to six games. The Ravens later dropped Rice from the team.
In their September 11th letter to Goodell, the senators say that the current policy "sends a terrible message to players, fans and all Americans that even after committing a horrific act of violence, you can quickly be back on the field." They say if you "violently assault" a woman, you shouldn't get "a second chance to play football in the NFL."
In the letter, the senators call players "role models"and urge the league to "lead by example and demonstrate its commitment to the safety of women and families."
The House of Representatives is going further than writing a letter. San Mateo Democrat Jackie Speier asked the Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, Republican Darrell Issa of south Orange County, to hold a hearing on the issue. Speier says the NFL’s "gross mishandling of the deplorable actions of Ray Rice is the latest example of how this insulated institution has incompetently dealt with serious issues."
That hearing would likely to touch on much more than just domestic issues. Speier wants to investigate the league’s "tolerance of performance enhancing drugs, the impact of traumatic brain injury on players later in life and the tax-exempt status the NFL enjoys thanks to a loophole Congress created in the ‘60s."
A spokeswoman for Issa says the chairman has had conversations about "potential pathways for continuing the committee’s oversight of ongoing issues in the National Football League," but says no agreement has been reached to hold a hearing.
House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee also sent the commissioner a letter this week, seeking more "transparency" in the NFL's review of the Rice matter.