Everyone was willing to protect Ray Rice because he is such a valuable football player.
He got a slap on the wrist with acceptance into a pretrial intervention program. It meant escaping jail time and eventually having the charge of felony aggravated assault purged from his record. He got another slap on the wrist with a 2 game suspension. To add the cherry on top, Janay Palmer-Rice apologized for her part in being punched unconscious.
With Monday’s release of a video showing Ray Rice pummeling his then fiancé to unconsciousness, then dragging her body out of an elevator, the NFL remains in the same damage control mode they have been in since they found out that Ray Rice is a domestic abuser. Throughout, the NFL claimed it asked for a copy of the hotel video, but couldn’t get it. They denied possessing it or seeing it.
This video has some audio of Rice and Janay Palmer-Rice shouting obscenities at each other. Palmer-Rice appears to spit at Rice. That’s when Rice punched her with enough force to knock Palmer-Rice unconscious. He dragged her body out of the elevator. Then some hotel staff shows up. One is heard asking if she is drunk, then saying “No cops.”
In the name of trying to persuade us that they take domestic abuse seriously, the NFL suspended Ray Rice indefinitely after the tape was released to the public. Officials continued to claim they really tried hard to get the video, but couldn’t get it. That, to their knowledge, no one in the NFL had the video and no one saw its contents until the video was released on Monday.
Earlier on Wednesday, there were several reports that the NFL never asked TMZ for the tape. Is anyone surprised? Of course, we are no more suprised by that than we are by the revelation that the NFL had the video since April.
According to AP, someone in law enforcement says the NFL had a copy of the video since April 9.
The person said they sent a DVD of the security camera video to an NFL office, along with their contact information. The person provided AP with a voicemail to an NFL phone number. According to AP, a woman’s voice on the voicemail acknowledges receiving the video and thanks their source for sending it.
The law enforcement source he cannot confirm if anyone in the NFL watched the video because he has not had any contact with anyone within the NFL since.
As late as Tuesday, after the tape was released, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told several media sources no one in the NFL had the video tape nor did they see it. He also said the NFL really tried hard to get the video from law enforcement, but they refused to release it.
There is reason to believe that somehow they had the incriminating tape of a brutal crime in their possession for five months, but no one looked at it. Looking at a video of a brutal crime would mean facing the ugly reality that there is irrefutable evidence that one of their star players is a brutal domestic abuser. It would mean taking the crime of domestic abuse more seriously than they do. Neither of those things are what may have stopped any NFL employee from looking at the tape. It was about protecting the brand and the star player at the expense of the brutalized wife.
The months of denials proved it, as did Janay Palmer’s apology and the lack of one by Ray Rice.
Image: CBS News