Roger Goodell is making yet another effort to clarify what the NFL did and did not know — and did and did not see — regarding the brutal beating Ray Rice administered on his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February.
“First, we did not see video of what took place inside the elevator until it was publicly released on Monday,” Goodell wrote in a letter to league owners, re-iterating comments he made to CBS on Tuesday. “When the new video evidence became available, we acted promptly and imposed an indefinite suspension on Mr. Rice.”
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The NFL and the commissioner have come under fire since the tape of Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice knocking Janay Palmer out was published on TMZ; had they seen the tape, Goodell would have gotten even more criticism for the slight two game suspension that he originally handed to Rice. TMZ claimed that the league had seen it months ago, which is what has launched Goodell’s defense.
Not seeing the video wasn’t for lack of trying, the commissioner promised. The League, he said, “asked the proper law enforcement authorities to share with us all relevant information, including any video of the incident,” with requests going out to Atlantic City, County, and State Police forces. “None of the law enforcement entities we approached was permitted to provide any video or other investigatory material to us.”
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The NFL didn’t ask the casino directly for the tape, either, because their “understanding of New Jersey law is that the casino is prohibited from turning over material to a third party during a law enforcement proceeding, and that doing so would have subjected individuals to prosecution for interference with a criminal investigation.”
Basically, they didn’t want to get anyone in trouble for sneaking them the tapes, the way a third party must have given the recording to TMZ.