A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that he sent the National Football League the full Ray Rice elevator assault videotape months ago, and that a woman at the league office confirmed receipt.
The anonymous official played the AP a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number, dated April 9. The phone message confirmed the video’s arrival, the AP said.
On the voicemail, a woman expresses thanks and says, “You’re right. It’s terrible.”
That interaction was the extent of the law enforcement official’s conversation with the League, he told the wire service. He included his contact info along with a DVD of the security camera footage.
While not actually authorized to release the video, the AP’s source shared it anyway, because he wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment, he said.
He also asked the AP not to release the name of the NFL executive, for fear that the information would reveal where the tape came from.
For their part, the NFL has steadfastly insisted that no one from the office had viewed the February domestic violence incident until it was leaked by TMZ Sports earlier this week.
On the latest allegation, the NFL told TheWrap on Wednesday, “We have no knowledge of this. We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it.”
Originally, the League suspended Rice for two games, with a third game he could play without pay. At the time, the decision was made based on previously available video, which only showed the aftermath of domestic violence incident, and Rice’s confession, the League said.
On Monday, when the full tape was published — including the depiction a brutal left hand blow from Rice that seemingly knocked his then-fiancee Janay Palmer unconscious — the Baltimore Ravens cut their star running back.
Later that day, the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely.
Earlier on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell penned a letter to his bosses — the team owners — insisting yet again that neither he nor his colleagues had not seen the full video, or more specifically, the actual physical attack that occured.
The notoriously tough commissioner said that it was not for lack of trying. 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.”
Goodell has been catching heat in the media for not being harder on Rice in the first place.