An NFL executive was sent the video of ousted player Ray Rice hitting his fiancee in April, a law enforcement source told the Associated Press.
The NFL claims it didn’t see the disturbing tape of Rice knocking his now-wife, Janay, unconscious in an elevator until TMZ published it Monday.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the league’s owners in a memo on Wednesday that the NFL asked for the tape from several law enforcement entities, but those entities were not permitted to hand it over.
The AP’s source contradicts that assertion. He says he sent the tape to the league and someone at the league told him, “You’re right. It’s terrible,” in a recorded voicemail.
From The AP:
“The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: ‘You’re right. It’s terrible.’
“The law enforcement official, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, says he had no further communication with any NFL employee and can’t confirm anyone watched the video. The person said they were unauthorised to release the video but shared it unsolicited, because they wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.”
After initially suspending Rice for two games in August, the league suspended him indefinitely and the Baltimore Ravens cut him on Monday after the new video surfaced.
The NFL released a statement on the AP report, saying, “We have no knowledge of this. We are not aware of anyone who possessed or saw the video. before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it.”
The league has justified the leniency of its initial punishment by claiming that they never saw the graphic elevator video — which shows Rice knocking his fiancee unconscious. Given Goodell’s repeated claims that no one at the league ever saw it until Monday, it’d be catastrophic for the NFL if the AP report is true.
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