Goodell doesn’t rule out Rice playing again

September 10, 2014

CBS Evening News’ Norah O’Donnell scored the first interview with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after Ray Rice‘s indefinite suspension following the release of the extended video tape showing Rice hitting his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City hotel.

O’Donnell asked Goodell if he knew that a second tape existed after the widely circulated first tape made the rounds following the incident. Goodell said the NFL had not.

“We had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the elevator,” Goodell told O’Donnell. “We assumed that there was a video. We asked for a video. We asked for anything that was pertinent. But we were never granted that opportunity.”

But how hard did the NFL try? According to TMZ, the network reached out to the NFL before publishing the second Rice video, but the league didn’t respond. Not until after TMZ put it up on their website, that is. Fascinating stuff here:

O’Donnell then went on to say that Goodell insisted that, to his knowledge, no one in the NFL saw the video of Rice actually striking Janay Palmer (now Janay Rice). In a portion that likely will air on CBS’ morning news broadcast — only about 2 1/2 minutes of the interview was shown Tuesday night — Goodell also said that getting the video directly from the hotel would have been illegal, an assertion that a New Jersey official made Tuesday:

THIS JUST IN: Spokesman for New Jersey state attorney general says it would have been illegal to release Ray Rice video to NFL. (via @ABC)

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 9, 2014

Perhaps the most fascinating element of Tuesday’s interview was Rice’s status. Asked what indefinite meant and whether Rice could play again in the NFL, Goodell didn’t say no.

I don’t rule that out,” Goodell said. “But he would have to make sure that we are fully confident that he is addressing this issue. Clearly, he has paid a price for the actions that he has taken.”

Goodell was asked if the NFL dropped the ball on this case or if it was willfully ignorant. His answer seemed to suggest both could be true.

“Well, we certainly didn’t know what was on the tape,” Goodel said. “But we have been very open and honest — and I have also — from two weeks ago when I acknowledged that we didn’t get this right. That’s my responsibility, and I am accountable for that.”

As for what changed between the February incident, the release of the first tape, Goodell’s meeting with Rice, Palmer and the Ravens, and the handing down of a two-game suspension … well, Goodell couldn’t exactly say why the league needed to see the tape to change the suspension to the indefinite status.

“No, we certainly didn’t,” he said. “I would tell you that what we saw in the first videotape was troubling in and of itself. What I saw [Monday] was extremely clear, extremely graphic and it was sickening. And that’s why we took the action that we took [Monday].”

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

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