NFL refutes report that it did not attempt to obtain Ray Rice video
Early in December, ESPN’s Outside the Lines released an investigative report claiming that Roger Goodell and the NFL failed to do their due diligence in investigating the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, resulting in the inconsistencies that ultimately led a judge to overturn the embattled running back’s suspension. On Friday, the league issued a direct response to that report, calling it “inaccurate and simply incorrect.”
Specifically, the NFL refutes OTL’s claims that league representatives never contacted law enforcement offices in an attempt to procure the now-infamous surveillance footage of Rice punching his then fiancee in a casino elevator.
“Among the numerous inaccuracies in the story, there are no emails or any other evidence from an NFL investigator stating ‘I never contacted anyone about the tape.’ That is a quote not from an email, but from an argument by Rice’s own attorney mischaracterizing the evidence. The email in fact explains that, despite his multiple efforts to do so, the investigator was unable to speak with anyone from law enforcement about the tape. The email details the efforts the investigator took in an effort to obtain any and all evidence in the Rice matter. Those steps included contacting and seeking information from the Atlantic City Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the Atlantic City Solicitor’s Office and the Atlantic County Superior Court.
“As the email explains and as NFL Security Chief Jeff Miller’s testimony made clear, none of those agencies was willing to provide the League with any information or evidence beyond copies of Rice’s indictment and pretrial intervention records. The suggestion that the league never attempted to contact anyone about the tape or that the Commissioner’s September 10 memo to the owners was inaccurate is simply incorrect. In fact, the Commissioner’s memorandum fully and accurately described the league’s investigation, and Judge Jones did not find otherwise.”
As detailed in the OTL report, Goodell wrote the NFL owners on Sept. 10, stating that “on multiple occasions, [the NFL] asked the proper law enforcement authorities to share with us all relevant information, including any video of the incident.” However, NFL investigator Jim Buckley wrote in an email the day before Goodell’s memo that he “never spoke to anybody at the casino or the police department about the tape.”
Goodell told the owners that the league had requested the tape from the New Jersey State Police, the Atlantic County Solicitor’s Office, the Atlantic County Police Department and the Atlantic City Police Department. According to the OTL report, however, none of the four agencies received a written request.
When asked during Rice’s hearing whether he knew that no formal request had been issued from his office, Goodell danced around the question, asking for the definition of a “formal request” and then saying, “I’m not an attorney.”