The following piece was written on September 14, 2014:
Two-time Super Bowl-winning running back Ray Rice has been suspended from the NFL indefinitely after the release of a shocking video. The NFL originally suspended Rice for two games as punishment for third degree aggravated assault charges in early February. Rice allegedly assaulted Janay Palmer, his then-fiancé, now wife, in a hotel elevator in an Atlantic City casino. TMZ released a video that showed the Ravens’ running back dragging Palmer’s unconscious body out of the elevator.
In late July, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice for only two games. The suspension was nothing but a slap on the wrist for a serious issue. Goodell commented later in August that he “didn’t get it right” on Rice’s punishment. He then made more enforced and stricter rules regarding domestic abuse: first offense is a six game suspension while the second offense is suspension for life.
On Sept. 8, TMZ released a more detailed video of what happened inside the elevator. The shocking video showed Rice deliver a vicious blow to Palmer’s face, knocking her out cold. On the same day the video was released, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely from the NFL, and the Ravens terminated his contract.
The actions that Rice committed were obviously terrible and disgraceful, but the way the NFL handled this issue was even worse. Law enforcement told The Associated Press that he sent the video of Rice knocking out Palmer five months before the video was released to the public. Goodell and NFL executives denied seeing the footage until this week.
Goodell can make his claims of not seeing this or not hearing about that, but there is definitely something he knew that we did not know about five months ago. ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that Rice told Goodell face-to-face that he hit his fiancé. The commissioner commented on the report, saying that the story Rice told him was “ambiguous.” According to the Ravens organization, Rice told the whole truth about what happened that night at the Atlantic City casino. Goodell did not.
The NFL hired former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III to probe an independent investigation the handling of the Rice case. Speculations suggest that this incident may cost the commissioner his job. If this investigation finds any proof of Goodell lying or covering up evidence, he’ll be as good as gone.
-Tom Cottingham, staff writer