Ray Rice and the February 2014 domestic violence incident that stalled his career sparked an independent investigation into the matter and how the NFL handled the case. Former FBI director Robert S. Mueller released his findings today, which revealed that the league did not see the Rice video before it was released publicly.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came under fire last September after allegations he saw the video clip of Rice striking his wife in a casino elevator before its wider release. Goodell has said several times that he did not see the video before everyone else, and 32 owners in the league trusted his words despite criticism from the public. With today’s report, it appears that Goodell’s account was supported by Mueller’s investigation.
From the Mueller Report:
As to the first question, despite extensive investigation, we have found no evidence that anyone at the League received or viewed the in-elevator video prior to its public release. Likewise, we have found no evidence of a woman at the League acknowledging receipt of that video in a voicemail message left on April 9, 2014.
With respect to the second question, we have identified the investigative steps that the League took in the wake of the Rice incident, steps that reflect the League’s longstanding practice of deferring to law enforcement—a practice that can foster an environment in which it is less important to understand precisely what a player did than to understand how and when the criminal justice system addresses the event.
In this case, that deference led to deficiencies in the League’s collection and analysis of information during its investigation. We conclude that there was substantial information about the incident that should have put the League on notice of a need to undertake a more thorough investigation to obtain available evidence of precisely what occurred inside the elevator. Had the League done so, it may have uncovered additional information about the incident, possibly including the in-elevator video prior to its public release.
To read Mueller’s report in full, click here.
[h/t Bleacher Report]