A women's rights group flew banners above several NFL stadiums on Sunday, calling on its commissioner, Roger Goodell, to resign over his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case.
"Tell the @NFL that @NFLCommish needs to go," the group, UltraViolet, wrote on its Twitter feed. "Time to accept responsibility."
A plane towing a banner with the message "#GoodellMustGo" flew over MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., before the New York Giants-Arizona Cardinals game. Similar banners were scheduled to fly Sunday above FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland before the the Cleveland Browns-New Orleans Saints game; Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., for the San Francisco 49ers-Chicago Bears game; and on Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis before the Colts-Philadelphia Eagles contest.
— Eric Kay (@ekaycbs) September 14, 2014
According to Bloomberg.com, the flyovers were scheduled for two hours prior to the NFL's no-fly security restrictions, which begin one hour before game time.
Last week, both UltraViolet and the National Organization of Women called for Goodell's resignation.
"It is time for Roger Goodell to resign, and for the NFL to get serious about its commitment to ending violence against women within the league," UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary said in a statement.
— UltraViolet (@UltraViolet) September 14, 2014
Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens running back, was indicted in March by a grand jury on third-degree aggravated assault after video surfaced showing the aftermath of the assault, but the charges were later dropped.
Goodell suspended Rice for two games for the incident, before TMZ released security footage showing Rice striking his then fiancée and knocking her unconscious inside an Atlantic City casino elevator. Rice was subsequently released by the Ravens, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. Goodell said at the time that the league had not seen the elevator video, but media reports by the Associated Press and ESPN contradicted his account.
The president of NOW, Terry O'Neill, said the Rice incident was one of several cases Goodell had mishandled. Two other players accused of domestic violence — San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald and Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy — were not punished by the NFL. (Hardy, who was convicted in July of assaulting a woman and is appealing, was deactivated by the Panthers on Sunday.)
"The NFL has lost its way. It doesn't have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem," O'Neill said in a statement. "The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community and to recommend real and lasting reforms."
— glick23 (@23Glick) September 13, 2014
The banner was not the only protest to surface. An image from CoverGirls’ NFL makeup line (“Get Your Game Face On!”) digitally altered to look as if the model pictured has a black eye was widely shared on Twitter. It also included the hashtag #GoodellMustGo.