ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. got his hands on the 631-page transcript from Ray Rice’s successful appeal hearing, and it’s ugly for the NFL.
The most interesting new tidbit is that the NFL’s security team never asked the Atlantic City Police Department for the video of Rice knocking his now-wife unconscious inside the elevator of the Revel Casino, according to the testimony of NFL investigator Jim Buckley.
Commissioner Roger Goodell initially said they did.
An arbitrator ultimately overturned Rice’s suspension, saying he never mislead the NFL about what really happened inside the elevator, as the league had claimed.
From Van Natta:
On Sept. 10, Goodell wrote a memo to all 32 team owners — his bosses — and said the same, assuring them that “on multiple occasions, we asked the proper law enforcement authorities to share with us all relevant information, including any video of the incident.” He cited the “New Jersey State Police, the Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic County Police Department and the Atlantic County Solicitor’s Office.”
But one day before Goodell sent that memo, the league’s lead investigator on the Rice matter had actually told the league’s director of security that he had never requested the inside-casino elevator video from the one law enforcement agency that actually had it, the Atlantic City Police Department: “Again, I never spoke to anyone at the casino or the police department about the tape,” NFL investigator Jim Buckley wrote in a Sept. 9 email to NFL executive vice president and chief security officer Jeffrey B. Miller. The last email on the chain from Buckley says: “I never contacted anyone about the tape.”
ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson was dumbfounded by this. The NFL security team consists of 13 employees and 70 contracted private investigators, yet they allegedly couldn’t get their hands on the tape. How is that possible? At the very least, it suggests incompetence.
Jeffrey Miller, the NFL’s chief security officer, testified that he presides over a full-time staff of 13 experienced investigators, many of them former police officers and federal agents. He also described 70 private investigators who work under contract for the NFL, two in each NFL city and in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Hawaii. It’s an investigative force that has been viewed with awe and respect for a long time, but Miller admitted that his agents had made no requests for the inside-the-elevator video from the local police, from the state police or from the casino. His testimony left the impression that the NFL security staff is more concerned with its “case management system” than with aggressive pursuit of real information.
We’ve reached out to the NFL for comment.
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