Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident has raised many questions. Why was there a delay in the suspension of Rice, who was ultimately banned for the season, and possibly for life from the NFL? What and when did Goodell know about the incident? Here is an overview of the facts and a theory centered on Goodell, Rice, and the real timeline.
The sports world learned that Rice was arrested and charged with assault on February 15, 2014. The incident took place at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. TMZ released a video showing his then-fiancé, Janay Palmer, being dragged from the elevator and she was reported to be unconscious.
Rice was indicted for the domestic violence charge of aggravated assault on March 27, 2014. Roger Goodell issued a two game suspension for Rice on July 25, 2014. This is when the uproar began.
Women’s groups, the sports press, fans, and even players, who were close to Rice, were outraged and believed the penalty lacked the severity it deserved. Everyone expressed doubt that the Commissioner’s Office considered domestic violence a serious issue.
On September 8, 2014, TMZ released an additional video from inside the elevator, which depicted Rice punching Palmer and rendering her unconscious. The Baltimore Ravens released Rice, and Goodell suspended him from future NFL participation indefinitely. Yet, several questions remain following this grossly mishandled situation.
First, why did it take Goodell’s office two months after the indictment to take action? In terms of the real timeline, Roger Goodell claimed that in his meeting with Ray Rice, the information he received about what actually happened was ambiguous. He only knew about the extent of the assault after the second video was released.
Accounts by those close to Rice claimed he told the Commissioner that he had punched her inside the elevator. Moreover, sources inside the Commissioner’s Office claim the second video had been received around April 9th.
Finally, what did Goodell think had happened when he witnessed the first video and saw an unconscious woman being dragged outside of the elevator? To quote Goodell, when he suspended New Orleans’ Head Coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season: “Ignorance is no excuse.”
Even before any of the recent domestic violence issues, some fans have questioned whether or not Goodell is bad for the NFL and needs to resign or be voted out by all 32 owners. He is a dictator who is frequently unfair in player punishment, and has targeted certain players to demonstrate the seriousness of the ‘Goodell Rules.’ In addition, his greed, which is aligned with the owners, has actually increased the number of dangerous situations related to serious injury. Some of the players are placed in the position of receiving career ending injuries far worse than a concussion.
By the end of each season, nearly every starting NFL player has suffered an injury or multiple injuries. To increase playoff games purely for the sake of more revenue is unconscionable. As one of the most avid NFL fans alive, I believe Thursday Night Football is a bad idea. The visiting team has less than three full days to prepare, and no time to heal from the previous game’s aches and pains.
If all of Goodell’s one-sided decisions, his obvious false statements, and his ignorance about how the game should be played are added together, it is obvious he is bad for the players and bad for the NFL in general. This commentary has not even mentioned the immunity the NFL commissioner has granted to the league officials. Not only are they not admonished for possible game-changing calls, coaches and players are fined if they discuss these transgressions at a press conference. Now that we know about Roger Goodell, Ray Rice, and the real timeline, how can he be allowed to remain in office? He has made his millions and the league can no longer afford him.
Commentary By James Turnage
New York Daily News