UPDATED, 4 PM: Keith Olbermann this afternoon stomped all over NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s interview with CBS News, broadcast last night and this morning, based on this afternoon’s AP report that a law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive three months ago.
PREVIOUS, Sept. 10, 5:30 AM: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is providing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his family with the “resources” they need to “help them work through” the fact that Rice knocked out his wife in a casino elevator back in February and got caught on tape which then went public this week.
“He’s got a lot of work to do” and “the family got a lot of work to do,” Goodell told Norah O’Donnell this morning on CBS This Morning as part of the network’s exclusive sit down with the commissioner.
“At the same time we’re going to continue to implement our policies and our revised education and training, so that we can get to people, and help people and their families make the wiser decisions, and know they have resources available,” he said, acknowledging “We have to change our training and our education to try and eliminate that issue.”
Goodell insisted the NFL has had “lots of conversations, lots of listening and learning.. with experts — not just in last two weeks or three, or month, but over last couple years,” in re how to stem the wave of domestic violence cases among league players.
O’Donnell politely noted there are several other NFL players still playing who have been accused of domestic violence, and the morning show threw up on the screen for viewers at home a bar chart indicating NFL players are arrested on domestic violence charges more than other crimes.
“People expect a lot from the NFL,” Goodell said. “We accept that. We embrace that. That’s our opportunity to make a difference, not just in the NFL but in society in general…. We have that ability — we have that influence. We have to do that.”
NYT sports columnist William Rhoden, however, insisted that, given the highfalutin security employed by the NFL, including several former members of the FBI, the league is either incompetent or covering up, when it comes to explaining why the league had not seen the damning tape earlier. O’Donnell noted that back in July sports journalists were reporting in some detail as to what was on the tape from inside the elevator. The league has been looking at this domestic abuse case through the prism of corporate protectors, whose first responsibility is to “protect the shield” and “how to minimize this – that’s why he got two games,” Rhoden said on the program.
“Only because people saw this – that’s why we’re here. Not because of some moral process…but because [NFL] got busted,” Rhoden insisted, adding, “We can’t continue to be addicted to this game.”
UPDATED, Tuesday, 4 PM: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said this afternoon he would not rule out Ray Rice returning to play but added that the suspended former Baltimore Ravens running back “would have to make sure that we are fully confident that he is addressing this issue clearly” and that “he had paid a price for the actions that he has already taken.” “Clearly, that is going to get attention,” CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell told Bob Schieffer after an excerpt of her exclusive interview interview with Goodell, including that comment, aired on CBS Evening News. The Ravens cut Rice on Monday and the NFL put him on indefinite suspension after TMZ released video of Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino, then dragging her out of the elevator face first. Video from outside the elevator, showing Rice dragging his now-wife Janay Palmer, was released back in February and had prompted the league to suspend Rice for just two games.
Asked why he changed Rice’s suspension from two games to “indefinite” — “Did you really need to see the video of him punching her in the face to make this decision?” wondered O’Donnell, given that the first video showed her “lying unconscious, being dragged out” of an elevator — Goodell responded: “What we saw in the first tape was troubling to us, in and of itself. But what we saw yesterday was extremely clear, extremely graphic and sickening. And that’s why we took the action we took yesterday.”
When O’Donnell asked how it was the NFL couldn’t get its hands on the tape of what occurred inside the elevator, when TMZ was able to, Goodell replied: “I don’t know how TMZ or any other site gets its information. We are particularly reliant on law enforcement; that’s the most reliable, that’s the most credible. And we don’t see to get that information from sources that are not credible.”
Asked if the NFL dropped the ball, or was willfully ignorant of the facts of the attack perpetrated by Rice that night, the commissioner said: “We certainly didn’t know what was on the tape, but I’ve been very open and honest … two weeks ago when I acknowledged that we didn’t get this right. That’s my responsibility, and I’m accountable for that.” (Last month, Goodell announced a new league policy for handling domestic violence reports, including a six-game penalty without pay for the first offense and a lifetime ban for a second.)
And yet, O’Donnell told Schieffer, Goodell has no concern about his own status with the NFL.
“I asked if he feels he’s on the line,” O’Donnell said. “He said, ‘No, I’m used to this criticism’ and that ‘every day I have to earn my stripes.’”
CBS News will air more of O’Donnell’s interview with Goodell tomorrow on CBS This Morning.
PREVIOUS, 3 PM: CBS News is getting first crack at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has been under fire since TMZ released video of now-former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in a casino elevator — an assault for which the NFL slapped Rice with a two-game suspension. Portions of the interview, conducted by Norah O’Donnell, will air on CBS’ evening newscast tonight; it will air in its entirety on CBS This Morning tomorrow.
ESPN’s Keith Olbermann now has twice called for the resignation of Goodell, who suspended Rice indefinitely on Monday, shortly after the Ravens announced the team had cut Rice in the wake of the video’s release.
The NFL has insisted it did not see the video — which was in the hands of police and Rice’s attorney — until Monday, though it requested “any and all information about the incident, including video.’ This afternoon Goodell said in a statement: “We had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the elevator. We assumed that there was a video, we asked for video, we asked for anything that was pertinent, but we were never granted that opportunity.”
CBS is one of the league’s television partners, having increased its NFL profile this season with Thursday Night Football. CBS Corp CEO and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus — formerly chief of CBS News — appeared with Goodell at Summer TV Press Tour to promote the new Thursday package.