UPDATE, Sept. 9, 3 AM: Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade responded this morning with stout denial to those who who’d called him out-of-line yesterday over his comment that the takeaway from the video of former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee was “take the stairs.” “Comments that we made during this story yesterday made some feel like we were taking the situation too lightly. We are not. We were not. Domestic abuse is a very serious issue to us, I can assure you.” Some of yesterday’s TV talk about the shocking video had focused on Kilmeade’s crack that wound up his show’s segment on the video in which the Fox & Friends gang expressed their shock, in step with TV talking heads around the dial all day long. But that storyline got sidelined when Keith Olbermann’s took to the air and accused pretty much everyone who’d had anything to do with various “investigations” of the incident of a “cover-up.”
PREVIOUS, Monday PM: “We begin tonight with the unavoidable and simple truth that intentionally, or by neglect, the Atlantic County, NJ, District Attorney’s Office, the Baltimore Ravens, the National Football League, and Commissioner Roger Goodell have conducted a cover-up of Ray Rice’s assault on his then-fiancée on Feb. 15th,” Keith Olbermann said at the top of his ESPN2 program the day TMZ released video of the running back punching Janay Palmer in a hotel elevator.
The Baltimore Ravens cut Rice (NFL talk for dropping him from the team and ending his contract) when video of his punch in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino emerged publicly. The NFL followed up on that by suspending Rice indefinitely — which blocks any effort to get him picked up by another team — while insisting it had not seen the video before it suspended Rice for only two games over the incident earlier this summer.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” the NFL said in a statement today. “The video was not made available to us, and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
The league’s and team’s pronouncements were being chewed on by social media and shows such as Fox & Friends when Olbermann weighed in, taking the debate in another direction, calling for a clean sweep of the authorities he believes mishandled the case.
“Each body, each leading individual involved came to a judicial conclusion about what had happened to Janay Palmer and what should happen to Ray Rice,” Olbermann continued hammering during his broadcast. “And each, through deception or incompetence, misled the public, damaged the efforts of every man and every woman in this country seeking to merely slow down the murderous epidemic of domestic violence, and made a mockery of the process by which those who batter those they claim to love are to be brought to justice.
“None of them have any remaining credibility, and each must leave or be expelled from their current positions,” Obermann said. “Despite the obsession of the moment, it does not truly matter whether they had seen this video before today. The league, the team, the prosecutors either whitewashed Ray Rice’s brutal assault without having seen this video, or saw the video and whitewashed Rice’s brutal assault anyway.”
Within hours of the video’s appearance on TMZ.com, the Ravens tweeted, “The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon.”
The video shows Palmer, now Rice’s wife, being hit in the face in the elevator. Palmer then lunges at the running back before he delivers a blow that knocks her out. When the elevator doors open, Rice drags Palmer’s limp body outside, dropping her face down on the floor with her legs still inside the elevator.
The clip sparked outrage from fellow football players, coaches and fans. Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, where the fight happened, said it released the video to police. Atlantic City police did not respond to requests for comment by ABC News.
An earlier clip that surfaced shortly after the incident showed only what happened when he dragged her from the elevator. When hotel security arrive, Palmer gets up and she and Rice walk away.
Earlier in the day, before Olbermann came out with his call, some pundits were spending their time criticizing the hosts of FNC’s Fox & Friends who, after showing the video and expressing shock and horror, wound up their segment joshing that the takeaway is to “take the stairs” because elevators have security cameras that can leave problematic evidence behind. Oops. Here’s video of their conversation:
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