Bill Simmons was a guest on The Herd today. After discussing Kobe, LeBron, and Adrian Peterson, the conversation turned to Ray Rice and Roger Goodell. This is obviously a sore subject for Simmons, who got suspended for three weeks after calling the Commissioner a liar. The Sports Guy went through the case part-by-part to qualify his belief that Goodell “bent the truth” by suspending Ray Rice a second time — indefinitely — with no new evidence:
- As Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg reported, Rice told Goodell the truth about what happened in the elevator because he assumed the Commissioner had seen the second tape.
- We don’t know for sure whether Goodell saw the second elevator video, but the AP reported that it was sent to league offices in May, it was signed for, and there was voicemail confirmation that it was horrible. We’re supposed to believe it didn’t reach the desk of the NFL Security Director Jeffrey Miller?
- Details of what we saw on the second tape were discussed by Chris Mortensen and Peter King during the Spring and Summer, and were included in news reports of the story as early as February.
- Roger Goodell went on CBS and said that what Rice told him in his disciplinary hearing was “ambiguous.”
“All this stuff is coming out, and Rice is gonna get off,” Simmons said. “I think he’s gonna have that suspension lifted. Somehow he’s turned into a victim in this whole thing, even though he punched his wife in an elevator and knocked her unconscious. He’s not gonna play this year. No team is gonna sign him. It would be a public relations disaster, but you can’t re-suspend somebody with no new evidence.”
“This is one of the worst things Goodell’s done, and he’s done a lot of bad things,” Simmons continued. “I just feel like we should care about this. This guy runs the most successful sports league that we have. Why don’t we care that he bent the truth here? Can I say ‘Bent the truth?’ Is that a fair way to do it? By calling Rice’s account ambiguous when you had eight people in the room who thought it wasn’t ambiguous? What do we call it then?”
Presuming each report that Simmons cited is accurate, he’s got a fair point here. You won’t find many people with working brains that believe Roger Goodell has been honest and forthright throughout this process, and Simmons’ discipline from ESPN almost certainly had much more to do with calling out his bosses than for calling Goodell — who has been a longtime foe — a liar. Hopefully today’s remarks are deemed appropriate in Bristol, because it would be no bueno to lose more weeks of the podcast from Cousin Sal during this NFL season.
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