LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Sixteen female senators have written a letter to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, urging him to institute a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence within the league.

“We were shocked and disgusted by the images we saw this week of one of your players violently assaulting his now-wife and knocking her unconscious, and at new reports that the NFL may have received this video months ago,” the letter reads.

“Tragically, this is not the only case of an NFL player allegedly assaulting a woman even within the last year. We are deeply concerned that the NFL’s new policy, announced last month, would allow a player to commit a violent act and return after a short suspension. If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn’t get a second chance to play football in the NFL.”

After a video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee, now-wife in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino was made widely available online Monday by TMZ, Rice’s contract was terminated by the Ravens and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

In an interview with CBS News, Goodell did not rule out allowing Rice to return to the NFL in the future.

Under the NFL’s current policy, announced in August, players who commit a violent crime are subject to a 6-game suspension for a first offense. Players would banned from the NFL after a second violent act, but are allowed to petition for reinstatement after one year.

The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

Here is the full text of the letter:

September 11, 2014

Mr. Roger Goodell
Commissioner
National Football League
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154

Dear Commissioner Goodell:

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, we call on the NFL to institute a real zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence that will ensure that this type of violence and abuse has no place in the NFL.

We were shocked and disgusted by the images we saw this week of one of your players violently assaulting his now-wife and knocking her unconscious, and at new reports that the NFL may have received this video months ago. Tragically, this is not the only case of an NFL player allegedly assaulting a woman even within the last year.

We are deeply concerned that the NFL’s new policy, announced last month, would allow a player to commit a violent act against a woman and return after a short suspension. If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn’t get a second chance to play football in the NFL.

The NFL’s current policy sends a terrible message to players, fans and all Americans that even after committing a horrific act of violence, you can quickly be back on the field.

It is long past time for the NFL to institute a real zero-tolerance policy and send a strong message that the league will not tolerate violence against women by its players, who are role models for children across America. We hope the NFL will seize this opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate its commitment to the safety of women and families.

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