The firestorm surrounding NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s role in the Ray Rice debacle intensified Wednesday with several developments, the biggest of which was a bombshell AP report that calls into question the version of events Goodell has been pushing for the past several days.
Goodell has claimed for three days that no one in the NFL office saw the vide of Rice punching out fiancee Janay Palmer inside an Atlantic City casino elevator until TMZ published it on Monday morning.
Goodell’s claims struck many as hard to believe given the NFL’s immense clout and an extraordinary security operation containing a host of former police officers and FBI agents. But there was no evidence that Goodell was lying until late Wednesday afternoon.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Roger Goodell Has Repeatedly Said He Didn’t See the Video Until Monday
Goodell said in a statement Monday night that Rice was being suspended in light of “new video evidence.” He then told CBS’ Norah O’Donnell in an interview Tuesday night that to the best of his knowledge, no one in the league had seen the video despite multiple attempts to attain it from law enforcement sources. (Watch the video above.)
Goodell repeated those claims again in a memo sent to league owners on Monday.
2. A Law Enforcement Official Told the AP He Sent the Video to the League in April
BREAKING: AP Source: Law enforcement official sent copy of Ray Rice tape to NFL executive in April
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 10, 2014
In a bombshell that casts even further doubt on Goodell’s claims that the no one in the NFL office saw the Ray Rice elevator video before TMZ published it, the Associated Press reported Wednesday that a law enforcement official sent a copy of the tape to the league in April.
The official sent the league the tape despite not being authorized to do so so that league officials could view it before deciding on Rice’s punishment, the AP reported. The AP said a woman in the NFL office called the law enforcement source back, confirmed receiving the tape and said “you’re right. It’s terrible.”
From the AP:
The law enforcement official, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, says he had no further communication with any NFL employee and can’t confirm anyone watched the video. The person said they were unauthorized to release the video but shared it unsolicited, because they wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.
3. Congress Wants to Know What Goodell Knew & When
The AP report followed a letter sent to Goodell by 12 Democratic members of the House Judiciary asking Goodell what he knew about the video and when he knew it.
The letter, which was sent to Goodell with a copy to the commissioners of Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL and Major League Soccer, encouraged Goodell to share the details about when he first saw the video and to further strengthen and clarify the league’s stance on domestic violence.
4. The National Organization for Women Called on Goodell to Resign
The National Organization for Women joined the chorus of voices Wednesday calling on Goodell to resign because of his botching of the Rice case.
NOW posted a statement on its website under the headline #ResignGoodell:
In light of recent events, it is crucial that the National Football League (NFL) take its violence against women problem seriously. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has held this position since 2006, has repeatedly shown that he is unwilling to effectively deal with the issue. Therefore, it is time for Goodell to go!
5. Goodell Told Norah O’Donnell He’s Not Worried About Losing His Job
In his interview with O’Donnell, Goodell brushed off a question about whether he was worried about losing his job, saying he faces criticism every day.
The criticism, though, has never been harsher or more widespread than it’s been this week.