National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is a man of "very high integrity," the head of mobile-video partner Verizon Communications Inc. said, pledging to help the league develop a program to combat domestic violence in the wake of the Ray Rice controversy.
The mobile-phone company has a leading domestic-violence awareness program that Mr. Goodell's NFL is seeking to emulate, Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said today at a conference in New York. Verizon's team is meeting with the NFL on the matter, Mr. McAdam said. Verizon is also running a campaign called "Inspire Her Mind," which outlines how young girls are subtly steered away from science and engineering.
Mr. Goodell is facing calls from women's advocacy groups to step down over his handling of former Baltimore Raven Rice's assault of his fiancee. The NFL said yesterday that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will conduct an independent probe into the league's handling of the case.
Mr. Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games in July, when the only known video of the incident showed the running back dragging his unconscious fiancee from the elevator of a hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. After a new video surfaced that showed him punching her, the Ravens terminated his contract and the NFL banned Rice indefinitely. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the league had received a video of the assault in April.
"I do not believe there was a conspiracy to cover this up," Mr. McAdam said. He called the assault "a deplorable, cowardly act."
Verizon, based in New York, offers live NFL games free for monthly customers on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights and on Sunday afternoons for local broadcasts.