The pressure continues to mount on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his handling of the Ray Rice situation. It’s only going to increase thanks to this report filed by Outside the Lines late Thursday afternoon. OTL’s Don Van Natta Jr. writes that four sources have told ESPN that Ray Rice told the NFL commissioner during a June 16 meeting he punched then-fiancee Janay Palmer inside an elevator of an Atlantic City casino.
Goodell made the statement Tuesday during an interview with CBS News, saying the latest video released by TMZ Sports about the incident was “inconsistent” with what the former Baltimore Ravens running back had told him. But four sources close to Rice say that during the disciplinary meeting in the commissioner’s office on June 16, Rice told Goodell he had hit Janay Rice, then his fiancee, in the face inside a Revel Casino Hotel elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and had knocked her unconscious.
“Ray didn’t lie to the commissioner,” a source with knowledge of the meeting told “Outside the Lines.” “He told the full truth to Goodell — he made it clear he had hit her, and he told Goodell he was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again.”
“He told the truth,” a second source said. “This is a public lynching of Ray.”
A third source with knowledge of Rice’s discussion with the commissioner said: “There was no ambiguity about what happened [in the elevator].” A fourth source also confirmed how the information was relayed at the meeting; however, a fifth source with knowledge of the meeting said Rice told Goodell he had “slapped” his fiancee.
An anonymous NFL owner came to the defense of Goodell’s handling of the situation earlier Thursday. Questions still remain whether or not Goodell and other NFL higher-ups saw the TMZ video of Rice prior to Monday.
Goodell is not expected to be a part of CBS’s pregame coverage of the upcoming Ravens/Steelers game in Baltimore.