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NFL culture never reformed after rice scandal, women say

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Goodell sensed the gravity of the situation, she thought, when he met with about 50 women who worked at NFL headquarters, mostly to refute reports that the league had seen the video beforehand and didn’t had not acted accordingly. According to Locklear, Goodell reiterated his commitment to addressing domestic violence, but offered a few specific measures because, he said, the league was still working on solutions.

“I remember going out there and thinking nothing had changed,” Locklear said. “There was no takeout.”

Managers were asked to speak to their staff about the league’s response to Rice’s video without, Locklear said, any instructions. When Locklear met with her team, a rift developed between her and a male subordinate who she believes contributed to her eventual departure, although the NFL and the male employee disputed her account.

Locklear said that during the meeting, male employee Aaron Jones, who worked in the Culver City, Calif., office, argued that Rice’s fiancée shared the guilt in encouraging Rice. Jones replayed the video to the group, Locklear said, pointing out key moments he said supported his claim. The other men on the call, Locklear said, seemed to agree with Jones. Locklear was speechless and the meeting ended uncomfortably.

Even before that meeting, Locklear said, she had had issues with Jones’ job, and later canceled her annual bonus, although the league said personnel records did not confirm this. Jones was promoted in 2017 to director of marketing science and strategy, a position he still holds.