The outrage over the Ray Rice incident went up significantly following TMZ sports releasing the elevator video of the assault on his then fiance. What the video did was show the reality of domestic violence, although in this case, it looked like flat out aggravated assault. It is quite disturbing to watch, but necessary to watch to get a sense of the actual incident.
To get some perspective, this incident occurred in February. Weeks ago the NFL handed down a flat out disgraceful 2-week suspension, then saved face by creating a new policy of domestic assault. Then it happened, TMZ obtained and released the actual video of the incident, and Rice was quickly released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely. But this isn't good enough.
These responses were too little, too late. Ray Rice's description of the incident to law-officials matched up with what is seen in the video. There isn't any provocation seen, just aggravated assault. So my question is, how is it that TMZ somehow got to this video before the all mighty and powerful NFL?
As Deadspin reports, NFL journalists state during the summer that some NFL officials had seen this elevator video. In descriptions of it then, those who claimed to have seen it tried to paint it that Rice was somehow provoked (which clearly isn't the case). Was this to white-wash the incident? Did they actually see the video? Was that a lie?
It wouldn't seem to make sense that the journalists lied.
An even more disturbing thought, is if Roger Goodell and company did in fact see this video, and then thought that it warranted just a 2-game suspension. Goodell has said, following the formation of the new policy, that it was his greatest mistake, but lets be honest: everything was to just save face for this nightmare. This is one of the most embarrassing moments for the NFL. Goodell and the NFL have since said that they hadn't seen the video before.
Goodell has botched this case throughout. During the "investigation", Goodell interviewed Ray Rice's now wife Janay Palmer, with Ray Rice present. How can you have a credible interview within the presence of her attacker?
Being that the video matched up with the reported description, how did Goodell think that it just warranted 2 games? 2 games?? He would have been eligible to return to the team following the Week 2 Thursday night game versus the Steelers.
Goodell isn't the only person to blame here. The Baltimore Ravens handled this about as poorly as they possibly could. First, there was a staged press conference with Ray Rice and Janay. Then there was a victim-blaming tweet, that has since been deleted (where Janay said that she deeply regretted the actions of that night). There was the Ravens showing Rice on the big screen during practices and preseason, resulting in cheers from the crowd.
Just like Goodell and the NFL, Coach Harbaugh said that the Ravens had also never seen the video before.
Along with the NFL, the legal system also failed to act here. The Atlantic County prosecutor's office agreed to a pretrial settlement of counseling. The legal system swept this under the rug just as much as the NFL.
Whether this was a cover-up by the NFL, people involved here need to take responsibility and step down.
If Roger Goodell was truly caught off guard by TMZ Sports, it shows a lack of credibility. If he had seen the video beforehand, even more-so it destroys any shred his commissioner-ship.
If Goodell has any ounce of respect for himself and for the NFL, he must resign.
It shouldn't have taken both the NFL, and the Ravens the video to take action. Ravens President Dick Cass and GM Ozzie Newsome must resign.
The legal system failed Janay Palmer here, The Atlantic County Prosecutor, and all involved who signed off on this pretrial agreement must resign.
As stated first, Goodell is ultimately on the top of this list. He has either been too harsh or too lenient in his history dealing with players. Just look at the suspensions of Wes Welker, Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon (the drug policy is a post for another day). Goodell has been a failure, and must accept responsibility.
This video didn't change anything. We knew the violent details of what happened. The only thing that changed was that we saw it. What about the domestic incidents that we haven't seen? Where there wasn't video? 49ers Ray McDonald and Panther's Greg Hardy have pending cases, both are still playing. Things need to change, starting with this case.
As ESPN's Keith Olbermann states, everyone must go