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NFL notes: Maine governor says Ray Rice’s suspension is not enough

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Baltimore Ravens football player and former Rutgers University standout, Ray Rice arrives at Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, N.J., Thursday, May 1, 2014. After Rice and his now wife, Janay Palmer got into a physical altercation on Feb. 15 at an Atlantic City casino, both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence. Atlantic County prosecutor's office reviewed the case and dropped the charge against Palmer. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The Associated Press

First published Aug 13 2014 10:43PM
Updated Aug 13, 2014 10:43PM

Augusta, Maine • Gov. Paul LePage, outraged that National Football League player Ray Rice received only a two-game suspension for a domestic violence arrest, pledged to boycott the league and called on its commissioner to take the issue seriously.

In a scathing letter sent to Roger Goodell on Tuesday, the outspoken Republican governor said the punishment given to the Baltimore Ravens running back sends the message that it’s OK "for professional athletes to beat women, just for the sake of ratings."

"Taking thugs and wife-beaters off the field may be bad for business, but you are playing games with people’s lives," said LePage, who was beaten by his father when he was young and has made domestic abuse prevention and awareness a priority of his administration.

Rice was arrested after a Feb. 15 altercation in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in which he struck then-fiancee Janay Palmer, who is now his wife. He has publicly apologized and has been accepted into a court diversion program, which may lead to the charges being expunged.

Goodell has said that the league has to be consistent with other cases when doling out punishment. He also noted that Rice didn’t have any off-field problems before and has taken responsibility for his actions.

In a radio interview last week, LePage said he would boycott the league, whose 2014 season kicks off Sept. 4, but he didn’t specify what that would involve. His administration didn’t immediately respond to questions about his plans to boycott.

LePage argued that Rice should have received a three-year suspension.

"As a matter of fact, the team should have taken him out in the back shed and taken care of him," he said.

Around the league

Cowboys • Tony Romo will play his first game since undergoing back surgery for a herniated disk last December. Romo will start for the Cowboys in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens. Romo missed Dallas’ exhibition opener against San Diego as the Cowboys are easing him back into things after his second back surgery in the past two years.

Patriots • New England acquired injured lineman Jerel Worthy from the Green Bay Packers in a trade pending a physical for the defensive end. The Patriots will get a still-to-be-announced draft pick, the NFL said Wednesday.

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