The National Football League will have more stringent punishments for its players involved in domestic violence cases in the aftermath of the incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
At the college level, athletes are subject to punishment by the individual schools. South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier said this week a player in Rice’s situation would not have gotten far in his program.
“Hit girl, you’re gone,” Spurrier said during his weekly press conference Tuesday, according to The State newspaper.
“If you ever hit a girl, you are not going to play on our team, you are finished. I can’t understand why every coach doesn’t have that rule and every company doesn’t have that rule for their employees.”
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Duke, N.C. State and North Carolina have university policies and guidelines to handle legal issues but no specific punishment, per se, for domestic violence cases. Neither the NCAA nor the ACC have rules for general legal issues or specifically domestic violence. Athletes at the three Triangle schools are subject to guidelines of the student code, in addition to the legal system.
In 2013, Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren suspended running back Shadrach Thornton one game after a domestic violence incident.
Thornton was charged with a misdemeanor assault on a female in June 2013. According to the police report, Thornton grabbed his then-girlfriend by the arm and pushed her against the wall in the school library. The case, originally handled by the N.C. State police, went through the Wake County court system and in August 2013 he received deferred prosecution.
Doeren said he let the university system and the court system do their jobs before he punished Thornton.
“We indefinitely suspended him until the process could go through and all the facts could be handled by the people that make those kind of decisions,” Doeren said.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe said he has talked to his players about the importance of their off-field behavior.
“In my humble opinion, what I told them is what manages your life, and, you have to go against human nature, is to care about other people more than you care about yourself,” Cutcliffe said. “And, if you do that, you’re going to respect others, but you’re also going to care about their well-being and welfare. And you would never abuse another human being.”
Under the NFL’s new domestic violence policy, first-time offenders are suspended six games and a second incident would lead to banishment from the league for at least one year. The incident between Rice and Janay Palmer, his then-fiancee, now wife, at an Atlantic City casino in February triggered the change in NFL policy.
Spurrier said there might be some good to come of the Rice incident, if other players can learn from it. Spurrier said he has dismissed two players during his career for violating that rule.
“It’s amazing that America has sort of put up with it or compromised,” Spurrier said. “Our players know, they are gone if they hit a girl.”
Laura Keeley contributed to this report.