Did the NFL try to downplay Ray Rice’s violent attack against wife Janay to justify its wrist-slap penalty? When did executives see the newly-released elevator footage which slows the football player knocking Janay out with a punch to the face?
Conflicting reports about the attack, which cost Rice his job with the Baltimore Ravens and suspension from the NFL on Monday, has the NFL playing defense. How much was known by the NFL about the elevator incident before the league imposed a 2-game suspension?
Top NFL management claimed they just saw the video last week. But a former worker at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where the incident occurred, who saw Janay laying out cold on the floor, said the NFL viewed the footage months ago.
The attack occurred back in February—plenty of time for the NFL to obtain a copy of the footage and take appropriate action. The couple were not married then, but tied the knot a month later.
The video, about 3 minutes long, shows the couple arguing in the elevator. Ray hits first, Janay hits back, then Ray delivers the punch which knocks her off her feet. She smashes her head on the elevator hand rail and is knocked out cold. Janay appears unable to move when the elevator door opens, and Ray drags her out.
Audio revealed hotel workers discussing how to handle the situation. One was heard saying,“She’s drunk, right?” And then, “No cops.” Rice was arrested at the hotel.
Hotair.com cites the Associated Press’ account of what happened:
A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league executives have insisted they didn’t see the violent images until this week.
The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: “You’re right. It’s terrible.”
According to Hotair, “A spokesman for the New Jersey AG’s office says it would have been illegal for the local DA to share a copy of the tape with an outside entity like the NFL while the grand jury was weighing charges, which may explain why the AP’s source is so keen on anonymity here.”
On Tuesday, Ray told ESPN, "[Janay] is so strong. We are in good spirits." He continued, "We have a lot of people praying for us and we’ll continue to support each other. I have to be there for [Janay] and my family right now and work through this.”
Janay said she loves and supports her husband and wants people to respect their privacy.