Lester Munson was a guest on Dan Le Batard’s radio show on Tuesday to discuss the Ray Rice fallout, and how the NFL could have bungled its investigation so badly. The ESPN legal analyst was asked what was most interesting to him about all of this, and his response indicated that his reporting has overlapped with NFL security for much of Roger Goodell’s tenure:
“The most interesting thing to me is to watch how these NFL security people operate. I have encountered them in the course of my reporting. I was bumping into them in the Michael Vick story for about three weeks in Virginia. They are expert investigators, former federal agents, a lot of police chiefs, a lot of detectives — they know exactly what they’re doing. And, if they want something, believe me they can get it.”
“My takeaway is they did not want to see the video of what happened in the elevator, and therefore they didn’t get it. They could have had it if they wanted it. If TMZ can get it, the NFL security force can get it.”
Le Batard said that the only options here are that the NFL was incompetent, immoral, or ignorant. Munson responded:
“My choice among those is that these NFL security agents have been digging up information, spinning it, and hiding it for years. On this occasion, it did not work. Their usual techniques killed them. Now everything has blown up in their face, and there’s gonna have to be a scapegoat here, and it’s gonna be someone in the security department.”
How on Earth did a prosecutor see that tape and not opt to proceed with a trial?
“The prosecutor is guilty of a gross blunder here, there’s no question about it. But, in the world of domestic violence, this is not unusual. Prosecutors swing and miss on these cases all the time. They see that the woman has decided to marry Ray Rice, and they somehow conclude that is just a wonderful love story. They don’t realize that it could easily be part of a continuing pattern of abuse.
They don’t understand some of the paradoxes and some of the counterintuitive things that happen in domestic violence, and so prosecutors — particularly male prosecutors — frequently make these mistakes. I am sure that this guy in Atlantic City would love to have this one over again, but he can’t.”
Does Munson believe the NFL when they say they never saw the video before it leaked?
“I believe that if they didn’t see the video, it’s because they did not want to see it. Somebody saw it. The Commissioner didn’t see it. It gives him a platform now to try to explain what has happened. I think there’s some manipulation going on there, and it’s not a big surprise if you’ve seen these guys in operations before.”
It seems like enough NFL reporters are angry enough about this failed investigation that the truth behind it could eventually emerge.