NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is breaking his silence about the video depicting Ray Rice hitting then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an elevator, condemning the contents of the tape — but denying that the NFL had seen it before Monday, when the running back was fired from the Baltimore Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the league.
Goodell also isn’t dismissing the possibility that Rice could return to the league, telling CBS News, “I don’t rule that out, but he would have to make sure that we are fully confident that he is addressing this issue clearly.”
“It’s so graphic, it’s so clear, and that’s very difficult for anyone to accept,” Goodell told USA Today of the second video on Tuesday. “It’s sickening.”
Even so, he insisted, he had not seen the video previously.
“We suspected (it existed), that’s why we asked for it,” Goodell told the paper. “So we said: ‘Is there any other information? Is there a video in the elevator? We would like to view it, we want to have all the information.'”
Goodell acknowledged he saw the first video of Rice, which depicted what happened outside the elevator, and that Rice’s representative then offered “an ambiguous description” of what had occurred.
Goodell came under fire for his handling of the case, which initially involved a two-game suspension. The criticism has only grown since the second video, published on TMZ, revealed the vicious attack.
The NFL commissioner also sat down for an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell, which will air in full on the show Wednesday and is being excerpted on Tuesday’s “CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley.”
In the interview with O’Donnell, Goodell said that the league “assumed that there was a video” and asked to view it, but was denied.
“Well, we had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the elevator. We assumed that there was a video. We asked for a video,” Goodell said. “We asked for anything that’s pertinent. But we were never granted that opportunity.”
Watch video of Goodell below.