By DAVID MARTINAssociated PressAssociated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — After a few minutes of deliberation, Roger Goodell announced his intention to reinstate a ban on head-to-head games between teams from this season.
The commissioner had previously made a rare public apology, calling for a return to the “sanctity of the game” in an appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
In a letter released Monday, Goodell said he believes the game’s integrity has been compromised because of “the pervasive culture of bullying and disrespect that has pervaded our sport.”
He also expressed regret that the NFL has not had a more open discussion about issues that have plagued the league.
Goodell said the league has done “everything in our power” to correct these issues.
The decision was made by the NFL, the owners and their teams, including by Goodell himself, in a conference call Monday morning.
It will take effect immediately, barring any unforeseen circumstances, according to the league’s statement.
The NFL had not made a decision on whether to impose a lifetime ban on the head-on collision rules, the most controversial of which was announced after the Raiders-Seahawks game last week.
The league said the collision rule should be reviewed and a new one adopted.
The league’s current concussion protocol allows for “excessive force” to be used in the face of a player’s helmet, as long as it is not “without reasonable grounds.”
Goodell said there is no reason for the NFL to revisit the rule.
In the wake of the Raiders’ victory over Seattle, Goodell’s commissioner’s office released a letter to players and coaches in which he said the game has become “a zero-sum game.”
The letter said the NFL needs to “strengthen its commitment to the integrity of our game and the integrity and well-being of our fans.”
“This year, we have seen the league and its players have shown a willingness to disregard the health and well being of our players and the league,” Goodell said.
“We have seen some of our best players suffer and die, and we have witnessed some of the worst.”
The letter was addressed to the players, coaches and fans.
The letter included a video of one of the players who died during a helmet-to’s-helmet collision.
In a video released by the league in the aftermath of the death, a woman can be seen pleading with the man on the field, “Please, please, please don’t hurt me.”
The woman is seen on the ground screaming and pleading with someone to stop, saying, “I’m so tired, I don’t know what to do.”
The woman’s face is clearly visible, and it appears the woman had been hit by a helmet.
A message left with the NFL’s public relations office was not immediately returned.
The statement issued by Goodell did not address the issue of head-in-game collisions in the future, or whether the league would revisit its ban on helmet-in collision.
Goodell did, however, call for an investigation into the safety of players on the football field.
“As the Commissioner has said repeatedly, the game of football is the greatest expression of human creativity and human compassion,” Goodell wrote.
“As such, it is my duty as the President of the United States to take appropriate action to ensure that all players are safe and healthy.”
The statement did not specify what type of action the NFL would take in response to the safety concerns.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.