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A law enforcement official sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, according to a new report from the Associated Press.
This new information seems to contradict the NFL’s repeated insistence that no one in the league was able to see the video before it was posted on TMZ Monday.
In response to the AP’s story, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, according to CNBC,”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 person played the AP 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 said he had no further communication with any NFL employee and can’t confirm anyone watched the video. He also told the AP that they were not authorized to release the video but shared it with the league because they wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment. The law enforcement official said he sent a DVD copy of the security footage at the Atlantic City casino where Rice and his wife fought to an NFL office and included his contact information.
The NFL has insisted that not only did no one in its office see the video and that commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t know what was on the video but also that they were unable to obtain a copy of it despite requests to law enforcement officials.
“We were told that was not something we would have access to,” Goodell told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell of the video. “On multiple occasions, we asked for it. And on multiple occasions we were told no. I understand that there may be legal restrictions on them sharing that with us. And we’ve heard that from attorneys general and former attorneys general.”
When pressed, Goodell added that the league didn’t know what was on the tape and wouldn’t force law enforcement officials to share anything they weren’t allowed to release.
Still, the NFL commissioner admitted he “absolutely” wished he had seen the video before it was released by TMZ.
When asked why he needed to see Rice punching his then-fiancee in the face when video had already surfaced of her lying unconscious on the floor and being dragged out by her feet, Goodell said it was still “ambiguous” what actually happened, even after meeting with Rice and his representatives.
“We did not know what led up to that. We did not know the details of that,” he said. “What we saw yesterday was extremely clear and graphic and was absolutely necessary for us to take the action we did.”
Goodell even outlined, in a letter to the NFL’s 32 teams on Wednesday, the various ways the league went about trying to obtain the video.
Rice was cut from the Ravens and suspended from the NFL shortly after video of him knocking out his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, was posted on TMZ Monday.
Since then, questions have swirled about whether team or league officials knew what was on the video and, if so, when they found out about it.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti told fans that the team had tried to obtain the video, to no avail, but ended its pursuit in March.
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