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Roger Goodell on Ray Rice’s reinstatement: We don't agree with the ruling – but we accept it

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By Scott Stump

On the same day NFL owners approved a tougher disciplinary policy for cases of domestic violence, commissioner Roger Goodell gave his reaction to an arbitrator's ruling to reinstate Ray Rice to the league earlier this month. 

"We don't agree with the arbitrator's ruling,'' Goodell told NBC's Peter Alexander in an interview that aired Thursday on TODAY. "But we accept it." 

The new conduct policy has come after the NFL has been criticized for its handling of several high-profile domestic violence cases, including the elevator incident. Goodell met with Rice and claimed Rice was ambiguous about what happened that night, while Janay said in an exclusive interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer that Rice told "the honest truth." Goodell told The Wall Street Journal that he and Janay have "different views" of what happened. 

More on the new policy: 

  • The NFL will conduct its own investigation, independent of law enforcement, on any player charged with a violent crime: "We will have experts that will help us collect that information, and we'll make a determination if it's a violation of the personal conduct policy,'' Goodell told Alexander. 

  • The NFL will hire a special counsel to oversee punishment, which was previously Goodell's role: "This special counsel has the appearance of being more independent, but in fact will be an NFL employee employed by 32 NFL owners and the league office,'' Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins told TODAY

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter and Google+.