NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell he was so lenient on Ray Rice, giving him just a 2 game suspension, because he hadn’t seen the video of Rice giving his then fiancé, now wife, Janay a left hook and knocking her unconscious. The video from the elevator, released Monday on TMZ, shows the brutal punch thrown, her head slamming into the elevator handrail, and her limp body laying on the floor. Rice never showed any concern for any of it.
But Goodell had plausible deniability, or so he thought, when the NFL claimed to have never seen the video until the world did. Not anymore.
While “an unnamed official” may stick in your craw as somewhat unreliable, that official also played a voicemail from the NFL confirming receipt of the tape, adding “You’re right. It’s terrible.”
Since it’s highly unlikely that voicemail was referring to the packaging the tape was delivered in, or the quality of the recording, the only assumption that can be made is the person who left that message watched that left hook. What happened after that, we don’t know.
What we do know is the NFL Commissioner Goodell didn’t act, didn’t change his mind, didn’t do anything differently. Only after the public saw that video did he have a “come to Jesus” moment on domestic violence and suspend Rice indefinitely. If the public hadn’t seen it, Rice would have returned to the Baltimore Ravens Friday morning and would be playing again a week from this Sunday.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Roger Goodell has to go. He either saw the video and didn’t care until the public saw it, or he’s presiding over an organization that hides things from him that can damage that organization. Either way, it’s a failure of leadership on his part, and it’s unacceptable.