Three experts in domestic violence will serve as consultants to the National Football League.
Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams Monday announcing that Lisa Friel, Jane Randel, and Rita Smith will work as ‘‘senior advisers.’’ They will ‘‘help lead and shape the NFL’s policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault,’’ he wrote.
Goodell has been under heavy criticism for his handling of the domestic abuse case involving star running back Ray Rice. Rice initially was suspended for two games. Goodell at first defended the punishment, but more than a month later, he told owners he ‘‘didn’t get it right’’ and that first-time domestic violence offenders would face a six-game suspension going forward.
Then Rice was released by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the league after video surfaced of the assault on his then-fiancee.
Friel was the head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office for more than a decade. Randel is the co-founder of No More, a campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault. Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Monday’s memo also said that Anna Isaacson, currently the NFL’s vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, will become its vice president of social responsibility.
The National Organization for Women, which is calling for Goodell’s resignation, called the appointments of the senior advisers ‘‘a step in the right direction — but it’s not enough.’’
On the new role for Isaacson, NOW said in a statement that ‘‘the fact that Roger Goodell is assigning a current member of his leadership team to oversee new policies shows once again that he just doesn’t get it.’’
Meanwhile, the players’ union Tuesday will appeal the indefinite suspension the NFL handed to Rice last week.
NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah told The Associated Press Monday ‘‘we are expecting to appeal before the deadline on Tuesday night.’’ That deadline is 11:59 p.m. EDT.
Although he doesn’t have a team, Rice remains a member of the NFLPA.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera isn’t sure if Greg Hardy will play Sunday night against the Steelers and that the team hasn’t considered releasing the Pro Bowl defensive end who is involved in a domestic violence case. Rivera said that Hardy will continue to practice and attend team meetings, but he won’t make a decision on if he plays until later this week. Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats, after the victim claimed he threw her down on a bed of guns and tossed her into the shower. He is appealing the ruling. Hardy played in Week 1 but Rivera deactivated him just hours before Sunday’s game against the Lions, and two days after the coach said Hardy would play . . . 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh insisted that public pressure will not sway his decision to play Ray McDonald during an investigation into the defensive lineman’s arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. Harbaugh said there ‘‘could be’’ a resolution in the case this week for McDonald, arrested at his home Aug. 31 while celebrating his 30th birthday with teammates and friends.
The NFL and the players’ union are close to finalizing the drug policy changes they tentatively agreed upon last week.
Atallah said the ‘‘drug policies are currently getting finalized.’’ League and NFL Players Association attorneys and officials are reviewing the documents and could approve them this week.
One key element is how the changes affect players currently under suspension, including Denver receiver Wes Welker (four games) and Browns receiver Josh Gordon (entire season). Their bans would be reduced, and the union wants to see that happen before Week 3 games are played.
Welker was suspended for amphetamine use in the offseason, but punishment for that is being switched from the performance enhancers policy to the substance abuse program — except for in-season violations.
Hours after the union voted Friday to accept the NFL proposal on changes that included HGH testing, the league said it was not a done deal.
No breaks for RG3
The Redskins are optimistic that Robert Griffin III will return this season.
An MRI revealed that Griffin doesn’t have any broken bones to go along with his dislocated left ankle, which means he doesn’t need season-ending surgery and theoretically could return in a couple of months if all goes well with his rehab. Kirk Cousins will be the starting quarterback for much — if not all — of the rest of the year.
Griffin was hurt when his left ankle planted awkwardly into the turf during the first quarter of the Sunday’s 41-10 win over the Jaguars.
Griffin missed all or part of four games during his record-setting rookie season of 2012, yielding the field to Cousins because of a concussion and later because of injuries to a right knee that eventually had to be surgically reconstructed for a second time. In 2013, he missed part of one game with a tweaked left knee and was benched for the final three games by coach Mike Shanahan.
His MRI results will be sent to a specialist for further analysis, and coach Jay Gruden said he won’t have a timetable for Griffin’s return until the leg has been in a cast for a few weeks.
Gruden said there’s ‘‘no consideration’’ at this point of putting Griffin on season-ending injured reserve.
Moreno out a month
Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno is expected to be sidelined for at least a month with a left elbow injury, and the team has re-signed Daniel Thomas to shore up the position. Moreno was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss at Buffalo. The Dolphins signed Thomas, who spent his first three NFL seasons with them before being released in August. Backup running back Lamar Miller hurt his ankle against Buffalo and might be limited this week. The Dolphins (1-1) host Kansas City Sunday . . . The Bears say cornerback Charles Tillman will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his right triceps in the third quarter of Sunday’s win at San Francisco. Tillman suffered a similar injury against Detroit last November. The Bears placed him on IR with a designation to return . . . The Jaguars will be without versatile tight end Marcedes Lewis for 6-8 weeks because of an ankle injury. Lewis suffered a high-ankle sprain in the loss to Washington . . . A person familiar with the situation said Saints running back Mark Ingram has a broken hand. The timeline for Ingram’s return remains unclear . . . Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he does not expect rookie cornerback Nevin Lawson to return this season after he went down with dislocated toes Sunday and needed immediate surgery . . . Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond will miss the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. The former Seahawk will have surgery Tuesday. He was hurt in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals . . . The Chargers said running back Ryan Mathews has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Coach Mike McCoy wouldn’t say how much time Mathews is expected to miss.’
Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg took full blame for the timeout call that negated a tying touchdown against the Packers Sunday. Mornhinweg said that he tried to get coach Rex Ryan’s attention on the sideline on the fourth-and-4 play from the Packers 36 with just over 5 minutes remaining because he saw something he didn’t like. Mornhinweg adds that as he tried to communicate with Ryan, he realized quarterback Geno Smith had fixed the issue — and he no longer wanted the timeout. But defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, seeing a frantic Mornhinweg, leaned over to the official in front of him and yelled for the timeout. It was granted — negating Jeremy Kerley’s leaping touchdown catch. Mornhinweg says Richardson was ‘‘only trying to help.’’ . . . The Raiders, whom the Patriots host Sunday, have reached an agreement to sign free agent receiver Vincent Brown . . . Arizona coach Bruce Arians said outside linebacker John Abraham will return to the Cardinals Tuesday. Abraham left the team last Tuesday after sustaining a concussion in the Cardinals’ season-opening victory over San Diego. Arians had said that Abraham was contemplating retirement, wondering if he still has the fire to play the game. But Arians indicated Monday that Abraham’s absence and attitude had more to do with his headaches from the first ‘‘real big’’ concussion of his 15-year NFL career . . . Broncos defensive tackle Marvin Austin traveled to North Carolina to be with his father, who was involved in a serious car accident.