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Players and coaches are to get advice on how to identify and prevent future attacks but it could take the NFL months to revamp personal conduct codes, the women appointed to deal with its domestic violence scandal told NBC News.
“Changing the policy is far more complicated than I think people see,” Lisa Friel told National Correspondent Peter Alexander in an exclusive interview airing on TODAY Wednesday. The former sex crimes prosecutor was hired after a spate of incidents involving NFL players piled the pressure on the organization and its head, Roger Goodell.
“What should the standards of behavior be? So we’re looking at, are they clear enough now, do we need to make them clearer so everyone understands them,” she added. “What should the process by which we investigate allegations of a violation of the policy be?” Goodell has said that an updated personal conduct policy would be in place by the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, 2015.
Starting next week, the league will begin giving presentations to players, coaches and team employees on how to identify and prevent future attacks, according to Director of Player Engagement and Education, Deana Garner-Smith, who said she the aim was to "change the culture" in the NFL family.
Friel also admitted the case of Ray Rice, who was filmed knocking out his fiancé in an elevator, could have been handled better.
"Commissioner Goodell has admitted and said that one of the things he felt that he did wrong was not have the right people at the table, and he's been very specific about what he means by that — people with an expertise in sexual assault and domestic violence to have given him advice,” she told Alexander. “I can talk about process and I can talk about the substantive area and he made a mistake by not listening to the right people in having that background.”
Friel added that it was important to spot the early signs of domestic violence. "It starts with verbal abuse, it starts with pushing and shoving, it starts with throwing things around and breaking objects in a home," she said.
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