Rachel Nichols Takes on Roger Goodell at Press Conference

There was no shortage of tough questions for Roger Goodell at Friday afternoon’s news conference, but no one came at Goodell harder or more frequently than Rachel Nichols.

Nichols, a reporter for Turner whose work appears on both CNN and Turner’s sportscasts on TNT and TBS, grilled Goodell on what she called his “extreme unilateral power” to decide disciplinary actions, prompting Goodell to tell her that “everything’s on the table.” (Watch the clip of the exchange above.)

When Goodell was done answering that question, Nichols followed up by telling him that the Atlantic City prosecutor’s office in New Jersey had no electronic record of the NFL asking for the video of Ray Rice slugging fiancee Janay Palmer inside a casino elevator in February.

“Certainly, our security department works with law enforcement,” Goodell answered. “They are fully cooperative. We gather almost entirely all of our information through law enforcement and that’s something else we’re going to look at, Rachel. Is that the right process? Should all of our information be gathered simply through law enforcement.”

Pressed by Nichols on whether the league asked for the video, Goodell said that, according to the league’s security department, the league asked for the video several times during the spring, from February all the way to June.

Later in the press conference, Nichols asked Goodell why the league tapped former FBI director Robert Mueller III to run an independent investigation into the league’s handling of the Ray Rice saga despite Mueller’s being a partner at a Washington, D.C., law firm that has done business in the past with the league and helped the league negotiate its NFL Sunday Ticket contract with DirecTV.

Asked by Nichols about the appearance of a conflict of interest for Mueller, Goodell got defensive, telling Nichols that as the longest-serving director of the FBI, his integrity in running the investigation could not be questioned.

Nichols, whose resume includes stints at the Washington Post and ESPN, was the topic of plenty of Twitter chatter, including a tweet from former ESPN colleague Bill Simmons.

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