Roger Goodell says NFL asked for, never given Ray Rice video
"We asked for video, but we were never granted that opportunity," says commissioner
As questions arose about the NFL's original investigation of Ray Rice,commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday the league asked for, but was not given a just-released video showing the former Baltimore Ravens running back punching his then-fiancee on an elevator.
Goodell told CBS in an interview that "no one in the NFL, to my knowledge" had seen a new video of what happened on the elevator until it was posted online.
"We assumed that there was a video. We asked for video. But we were never granted that opportunity," Goodell said.
He also did not rule out the possibility of Rice's returning to play in the NFL.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wouldn’t 'rule out' Ray Rice playing again <a href="http://t.co/hez9EC40RB">http://t.co/hez9EC40RB</a>—@TIME
Two videos, one released by TMZ Sports and another shown later to The Associated Press by a law enforcement official, show Rice punching Janay Palmer — now his wife — at an Atlantic City casino in February.
After the TMZ video made its way around the Internet, the Ravens cut Rice and the league barred him indefinitely.
In July, after another video released by TMZ showed Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator, but didn't show what happened inside, Goodell suspended the player for two games.
"I would tell you that what we saw in the first videotape was troubling to us, in and of itself," Goodell said Tuesday.
"But what we saw yesterday was extremely clear, is extremely graphic and it was sickening. And that's why we took the action we took yesterday."
Roger Goodell on second Ray Rice video: 'Sickening' <a href="http://t.co/WGvT7xw1Lz">http://t.co/WGvT7xw1Lz</a>—@NFLSnap
Earlier Tuesday, Palmer posted a statement on her Instagram account, saying that barring Rice from playing football is "horrific" and that making the couple "relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing."
Meanwhile, the fallout for Rice continued. Nike severed its business ties with him, and video game publisher Electronic Arts said it would scrub Rice's image from their latest Madden `15 release.
In the videos that surfaced Monday, Rice and Palmer are seen hitting each other before he knocks her off her feet and into a railing.
The higher-quality video shown to the AP shows Rice made no attempt to cover up what happened. After Palmer collapses, he drags her out of the elevator and is met by some hotel staff. Someone is heard saying, "She's drunk, right?" And then, "No cops." Rice didn't respond.
The video was shown to the AP on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to release it.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he met with team owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome after they saw the TMZ video and they made the decision to let Rice go.
"It's something we saw for the first time [Monday]," Harbaugh said. "All of us.
"It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different."
'We were wrong'
The action represented a complete reversal for the team, which had initially supported Rice. Rice had been charged with felony aggravated assault in the case, but in May he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that allowed him to avoid jail time and could lead to the charge being purged from his record. A prominent New Jersey lawmaker called Tuesday for that decision to be reviewed.
In a letter to fans, Bisciotti said the team should have done more to get the video as the investigation continued and it was a "mistake" not to. He said the team tried to get the video from both the casino and law enforcement, but the casino wouldn't share it and that authorities refused. It is common for law enforcement to decline to release evidence when an investigation is ongoing.
"We should have seen it earlier," the letter said. "We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously.
"We didn't and we were wrong."
'Disturbing to watch'
Rice, 27, stood to make $4 million US this year.
"Obviously, any video that depicts an act of violence in that video is disturbing to watch," NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said at the Seahawks facility in Renton, Wash.
"For our union, we have an unshakable position against any violence, certainly domestic violence included. It will be a time for us now to catch up with everything else that has occurred today."
Rice had been charged with felony aggravated assault in the case. But in May, he was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program that allowed him to avoid jail time and could lead to the charge being purged from his record. The president of the New Jersey state Senate called on Tuesday for a review of that decision.
After Goodell drew criticism for not being tough enough on Rice, he wrote a letter to all 32 NFL owners in August saying he "didn't get it right" and setting up new penalties for domestic violence: six-game suspension for a first offence, at least a year for a second.
Goodell to CBS on the idea he should step down: "No, I'm used to the criticism, I'm used to that. Every day I have to earn my stripes."—@AlbertBreer
Rice's original two-game ban began Sunday, when the Ravens opened their season with a 23-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Under the initial punishment, he would have been allowed to return after Thursday night's game against Pittsburgh.
On July 31, Rice said: I let so many people down because of 30 seconds of my life that I know I can't take back."