NFL Had Copy of Ray Rice’s Elevator Assault in April, NOW Calls on Commissioner to Resign

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NFL Had Copy of Ray Rice’s Elevator Assault in April, NOW Calls on Commissioner to Resign

Nina Liss-Schultz

A law enforcement official in April sent video footage from inside the elevator to the NFL of former Raven’s running back Ray Rice’s assault on his then fiancée, according to an Associated Press report that ran on ABC News Wednesday afternoon.

Read more about intimate partner violence and the Ray Rice case here.

A law enforcement official in April sent video footage to the NFL from inside the elevator of former Ravens’ running back Ray Rice’s assault on his then fiancée, according to an Associated Press report.

Ray Rice had been suspended for two games when video footage of him appeared dragging an unconscious Janay Rice (now his wife) out of an Atlantic City elevator. After TMZ last week released another video, taken inside the elevator and more clearly depicting Rice’s assault on Janay Rice, the Baltimore Ravens announced they were cutting ties with their running back.

Later that day, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who said in a letter less than a month ago that he “didn’t get it right” when he suspended Rice for two games, announced that Rice was banned from the league indefinitely.

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After the release of the elevator video, questions were raised as to whether the NFL had seen the footage when conducting their initial investigation, and if so, why they had only taken action after the video was leaked to the public. As Ann Killion wrote for SF Gate, “It’s a good thing that Rice is gone. But why did it take a videotape of what we already know knew happened in the elevator for the appropriate action?”

A well-connected Sports Illustrated reporter, Peter King, wrote months ago about the existence of the second video, though acknowledged that he had not seen it.

But Goodell and the NFL said repeatedly that they had no knowledge that footage from inside the elevator existed. In an interview Wednesday morning with CBS News, Goodell said that it was “a fact” that no one at the NFL had seen the video footage.

“No one in the NFL, to my knowledge, and I had been asked that same question and the answer to that is no,” said Goodell “We were not granted that.”

The recent AP report calls into question whether or not that is true. An anonymous law enforcement official told the wire agency that the source had sent the video to the NFL in April as part of the investigation that lead to Rice’s suspension.

The AP also says that their source corroborated his claim by playing a voicemail “from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived.” Though the AP confirmed that the video was sent, they acknowledge that it’s unclear whether anyone at the NFL watched it.

Calls for Goodell’s resignation started even before this new development. On Tuesday, the National Organization for Women (NOW) wrote a press statement arguing for the commissioner’s resignation:

The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign, and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) also said on Tuesday that she believes Goodell should “seriously” consider resigning.

Topics and Tags:

Ray Rice, Violence against women