TMZ Sports has just broke the news that nobody from the NFL – including commissioner Roger Goodell – bothered to ask the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City for the elevator footage which shows Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée Janay Palmer unconscious.
Footage that the casino says they would have gladly handed over to the NFL – had anybody actually asked to see it.
The NFL’s statement on the elevator video was as follows:
We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.
What they don’t say is that they didn’t ask Rice’s lawyers to see their copy of the video, which they could have done as a condition to Rice’s playing status being reinstated. Now we know they could have asked the casino directly to see that same video – and they failed to do that as well.
Which raises the question: What the hell were they thinking? Were they hoping to just brush this whole incident under the rug and hope nothing else surfaces showing the brutal reality of what happened? Or were they so incompetent that they thought getting turned down by law enforcement let them off the hook on their responsibility to get to the bottom of what happened?
And either way, does it really matter? Roger Goodell has proven himself to be completely and willfully incompetent on this whole situation, from start to finish.
You’re going to tell me that video surfaces showing a man dragging his unconscious fiancée from an elevator carelessly, kicking her leg out of the way after he picks up her shoe, and instead of treating that incident seriously – you give the man a two week slap on the wrist and basically assist him in rebuilding his image? All while knowing full well you had other options to investigate exactly what happened, but you swept them under the rug for some absolutely absurd reason?
Goodell needs to step down – now – and others need to follow suit. There’s absolutely no getting around that.
Keith Olbermann may have put it best on his show yesterday (even before this newest revelation from TMZ Sports). He said, in part:
“It does not truly matter whether they had seen this video before today. The league, the team, the prosecutors, either whitewashed Ray Rice’s brutal assault without ever having seen this video, or they saw the video and whitewashed Rice’s brutal assault anyway… I accuse prosecutors McClain and Ruberton and Judge Donio even with the full weight of the law behind them of failing to seek or failing to obtain or failing to act upon that in-elevator video. Of failing to put Ray Rice in jail where he belongs. The state of New Jersey must immediately begin an inquiry into whether or not the failures of McClain and Ruberton and Donio are mere incompetence, or if they rose to the level of criminal malfeasance. I accuse President Cass and General Manager Newsome of Baltimore of failing to act internally after the ludicrousness of the Rice two-game suspension should have become apparent even to them. They have had six weeks to add a team suspension to Rice’s token league punishment to try to make the scales of justice slightly less out of all balance. They did nothing until they terminated Rice’s contract today after all of them failed to get away with it. Mr. Cass and Mr. Newsome put the meaninglessness of their own team’s financial and on-field success ahead of the safety and well-being not only of Janay Palmer, but of every woman in this country now threatened by a man who, because of how they covered for Ray Rice, is a little more confident that he can get away with it.”
And he’s absolutely right. Not only should Roger Goodell resign or be forced out, but the Atlantic County prosecutors who basically allowed Rice off the hook legally should face an inquiry into their actions as well. One of those prosecutors, Jim McClain, recently seemed to get a kick out of making a harsh example out of a single mom who made an innocent mistake. Because, you know, single moms who are 1st-time offenders don’t deserve the same type of diversion program opportunity that a millionaire NFL player who beats his spouse gets, apparently.
This whole story reeks of a massive failure of justice in every aspect, from the NFL and Baltimore Ravens’ handling of the situation, to the prosecutors and judge who decided a slap on the wrist and a “don’t do it again!” was proper punishment for Rice’s disgusting actions.
This may come as a shock to Roger Goodell and the NFL, but domestic violence is a serious issue in this country. Yet they’ve proven they care more about punishing pot smokers than punishing players who beat their significant other. This latest revelation that they couldn’t even be bothered to fully investigate what Ray Rice did before giving him a slap on the wrist is confirmation that big changes need to happen – now.
Image via TMZ
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