Embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for his handling of the league’s recent issues of domestic violence and added that changes would be made to the league's policies during a press conference Friday.
“Over the past several weeks we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong,” Goodell said. “That starts with me. I said this before back on Aug. 28 and I say it again now. I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter and I’m sorry for that.
"I got it wrong on a number of levels. From the process that I led to the decision I reached. But now I will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that."
Goodell said he will create a new conduct committee to oversee the implementation of the player conduct policy, and hopes to have it in place by the Super Bowl.
He then took questions from reporters in attendance, continuing to deny that no one in the league had seen or obtained a copy of video footage of former NFL running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February. Goodell hadn’t spoken publicly since his now-infamous interview with “CBS This Morning," on Sept. 9 in which he stated that he was denied frequent requests from law enforcement to receive further video evidence. The next day, the Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official sent a copy of the Rice tape to an NFL executive in April.
Over the last two weeks, Goodell and the league have come under fire after recent scandals surrounding Rice, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, and how the league and its teams have held players accountable to the personal conduct policy.
Some have called for Goodell to resign after the inconsistencies with his statements, and for his lax policy on domestic violence. During the press conference, reporters asked if he had the support of the 32 NFL's principal owners.
Following the saga, the league stated it would conduct a full investigation into the handling of Rice's case, and that former FBI Director Robert Mueller would lead the charge. Goodell emphatically said the league would fully cooperate with Mueller's inquiry.
"I pledge that Director Mueller will have full cooperation and access. We all look forward to his report and findings," Goodell said. "I promise you that any shortcomings he finds in how we dealt with the situation will lead to swift action. The same mistakes can never be repeated. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that we are thoroughly in our review process and that our conclusions are reliable."
Several of the league’s most high profile sponsors, like Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi, have criticized the NFL and Goodell said they league had been in contact with its frustrated business partners.
“We’ve been in contact with our sponsors. What we said is we’re going to clean up our house, we’re going to get it straight, and they want to see us achieve that. That’s what we’re looking for. That’s why we’ve been so focused the last couple of weeks,” Goodell said.