The NFL botched the handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence issue, that much is clear. The meek 2-game suspension was a terrible decision in August, and after Monday’s release of the video showing the former Baltimore Ravens running back punching out his then-fiancee, the question became: How could the NFL not know about the knockout punch? According to TMZ, the NFL didn’t want to know:
"The NFL NEVER contacted the casino to request video of Ray Rice brutalizing his fiancee … TMZ Sports has learned. Sources who worked at the casino at the time of the incident tell us … if the NFL had asked for the video, they would have gladly complied."
The NFL quickly countered with a statement of its own: We asked law enforcement for any and all tapes, because New Jersey law enforcement handles security for Atlantic City casinos. And they didn’t give us the tape.
Passing the buck? Does the NFL really think that’s going to fly with NFL fans, players or owners? As others said yesterday, it looks like the end may be near for Roger Goodell. Here’s the entire NFL statement on the TMZ claim:
Roger: The NFL could easily have dispatched a small army of men to Atlantic City, acquired the tape or at least viewed it, and made a decision based on that. Not doing that sends quite a message: This isn’t that big of a deal.
That’s a terrible message.
Rice has now been released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Too little, too late?
Related: Ray Rice Got Married the Day After He Was Indicted For Assaulting His New Wife
Related: Chris Berman Had Some Rambling Thoughts on Ray Rice and the NFL in Between Calling a Punt Block
Related: TMZ’s Charles Latibeaudiere Says NFL Employees Went to the Casino and Saw the Ray Rice Video