WHITE PLAINS - The NFL is introducing tougher punishments for players who commit domestic violence and sexual assault.

The decision by Commissioner Roger Goodell comes after Baltimore Ravens player and New Rochelle native Ray Rice got a two-game suspension for allegedly assaulting his then-fiancee. The NFL was criticized by many who felt the punishment was not severe enough.

Players who commit domestic violence crimes, including sexual assault and battery, will now face a six-game suspension for a first offense. A second offense will result in a lifetime ban.

At the Brazen Fox in White Plains, most sports fans agreed that the stricter punishments were needed and players should not receive special treatment.

In response, the NFL Players Association says it promises to defend its members' rights if they feel those rights are being violated.