The narrative on why the NFL didn’t pursue the Ray Rice domestic incident is changing everyday, including various claims that the disturbing video of the ex-Baltimore Raven beating his wife wasn’t available to league officials.
The news, which comes from an NFL owner who has not been identified, does something else disturbing to the narrative — blame the victim. At one point, Goodell told other NFL owners that Janay believed she was partly at fault. Goodell also believed Janay, formerly known as Janay Palmer, became unconscious in the elevator because she fell, not because she was brutally punched by her then-fiance.
After Goodell suspended Rice for two games in July, this person said, Goodell told several NFL owners that he felt it would have been insensitive to question Janay Rice’s story because it would have come across as an indictment of her character. Two people familiar with the commissioner’s thinking, including the owner, said they believe the thoroughness of the investigation, and Goodell’s decision to suspend Rice for two games, both reflected Goodell’s discomfort with challenging Janay Rice’s story.
The NFL declined to comment. Ray and Janay Rice, through their attorney, declined to comment.
An investigation, led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, will explore whether Goodell and other NFL executives actually saw the elevator video.
The investigation will be overseen by New York Giants owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II.
Mara and Rooney released a joint statement on Thursday that said the scope of the investigation will include “what efforts were made by league staff to obtain the video of what took place inside the elevator and to determine whether, in fact, the video was ever delivered to someone at the league office, and if so, what happened to the video after it was delivered.”
The statement continued: “Our sole motive here is to get the truth and then share Mr. Mueller’s findings with the public.”
According to TMZ, the investigation has already kicked off, though late by some standards given the domestic dispute occurred in February 2014.
NFL officials belatedly contacted the Revel Casino Wednesday … attempting to find out if someone sent the Ray Rice elevator attack video to a League official back in April. We’re told the NFL is trying to find who was in a position to send a video to the League.
Sources familiar with the internal investigation tell TMZ … the NFL was told casino employees burned 3 DVDs for distribution shortly after the incident. One DVD was burned for the Risk Management department at the Casino. A second DVD was burned for Casino Security Investigations. We’re told this DVD was supposed to be forwarded to local police.
As for the third DVD … it’s curious. We’re told it went to a state law enforcement agency. Our sources would not reveal which agency or why the State of New Jersey was involved.
Our sources say just before the casino closed down … the original version — not the dub — was sent over to Risk Management so it could be secured. We’re told the risk manager who had received the first copy had left the casino, so her replacement received the original. We do not know if the replacement ever got the dub her predecessor received.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest in the NFL investigation.