NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said that nobody from NFL has seen the latest Ray Rice video until today, but that would seem to contradict things that were said and written by NFL reporters this summer. In a July 29th mailbag, Peter King wrote:
There is one other thing I did not write or refer to, and that is the other videotape the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen, from the security camera inside the elevator at the time of the physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée. I have heard reports of what is on the video, but because I could not confirm them and because of the sensitivity of the case, I never speculated on the video in my writing, because I don’t think it is fair in an incendiary case like this one to use something I cannot confirm with more than one person. I cannot say any more, because I did not see the tape. I saw only the damning tape of Rice pulling his unconscious fiancée out of the elevator.
[UPDATE: Peter King has added an addendum. “Earlier this summer a source I trusted told me he assumed the NFL had seen the damaging video that was released by TMZ on Monday morning of Rice slugging his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City elevator,” King writes. “The source said league officials had to have seen it. This source has been impeccable, and I believed the information. So I wrote that the league had seen the tape. I should have called the NFL for a comment, a lapse in reporting on my part. The league says it has not seen the tape, and I cannot refute that with certainty. No one from the league has ever knocked down my report to me, and so I was surprised to see the claim today that league officials have not seen the tape. I hope when this story is fully vetted, we all get the truth and nothing but the truth.”]
On a July 26th radio appearance on Dari and Mel (a snippet of which we have included at the bottom of this post), ESPN’s Chris Mortensen was asked what went into the NFL’s decision to suspend Ray Rice for just two games.
“I think the expectations from around the league — even from the Ravens internally — was that it would be more than two games,” Mortensen answered. “We’ve all seen the TMZ video of Ray dragging [his fiancée] off an elevator. I’m told by numerous sources — or, a few good sources — that the video from inside the elevator, which we’ve never seen, shows Janay surely attacking Ray, so he’s in a confined area. But still, what they tell you to do, is get away from it or restrain. You can restrain her, but you can’t deliver a punch, an uppercut, which Ray allegedly did inside that elevator. I’m told that Janay hit her head on the railing. That would seem to justify a pretty severe sanction.”
Mortensen did not outright say that the NFL had seen the tape, and did not defend the league’s two-game punishment.
“I can’t say with 100% surety that the NFL did see the video,” Mortensen tells The Big Lead. “But if I was able to get the detailed account of what happened, you’d think that the NFL, with all its resources and investigative reach, would have been able to procure a full explanation, if not the video itself.”
On an August 4th appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Jay Glazer categorically denied that the NFL had seen the video. “I know they haven’t seen the tape,” Glazer said. “Nobody’s seen the tape. I believe it’s just the DA that’s seen it.”
If the league had indeed seen the tape, and still opted to only suspend Rice for two games, it would be baffling, but, not at all out of line with the NFL’s previous punishments for domestic violence.