Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Roger Goodell Is In Hot Water

...or on thin ice. Or in hot water on thin ice.

Following the backlash of the Ray Rice situation, many have called for Goodell to answer for how the National Football League reviewed and handled matters in the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

While it was made clear by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office that "It's grand jury material. It would have been improper -- in fact, illegal -- for the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office to provide (the video) to an outside/private/non law-enforcement entity," many are still calling for Goodell to be transparent now, since he and the NFL weren't before. Others are calling for Goodell to step down altogether.

And in a strange twist, some are even suggesting Goodell abused the authority he was granted in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement in which his stipulation to personally oversee all personal conduct matters but advancing the suspension of Ray Rice from 2 games to indefinite.

Roger Goodell did release a statement in a letter to the owners of the NFL's 32 teams. Goodell stressed two very specific points:

First, we did not see video of what took place inside the elevator until it was publicly released on Monday. When the new video evidence became available, we acted promptly and imposed an indefinite suspension on Mr. Rice.
Second, on multiple occasions, we asked the proper law enforcement authorities to share with us all relevant information, including any video of the incident. Those requests were made to different law enforcement entities, including the New Jersey State Police, the Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic County Police Department and the Atlantic County Solicitor’s Office. The requests were first made in February following the incident, and were again made following Mr. Rice’s entry into the pre-trial diversion program. None of the law enforcement entities we approached was permitted to provide any video or other investigatory material to us. As is customary in disciplinary cases, the suspension imposed on Mr. Rice in July was based on the information available to us at that time.
Very shortly ago, the Associated Press reported via a source that the NFL did in fact receive a copy of the tape inside of the elevator from a member of law enforcement, contradicting the NFL and Mr. Goodell's stance that the tape was not made available to the NFL. The report also states that there was a confirmation in a call or message from the NFL's offices, an executive to be exact, that the tape was received and that it was horrible.

This is a major hit on Goodell's already shaky public support. The NFL is not backing down from their statement that the offices did not receive the tape or that they were denied the opportunity.

If these reports are true, and Goodell and the NFL did have the video and had seen it, then Goodell will find it difficult to keep trust from the owners and players. It will also raise concerns about Goodell getting it wrong on Rice before, and his sudden change of heart with the rules. The abrupt advancement of Rice's suspension will also be questioned further, as it has been made clear if the report is true that Goodell was more concerned with the public finding out about the tape.

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