National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell officially informed the NFL Player’s Association Friday of the indefinite suspension of Ravens running back Ray Rice.
In a letter to the association, Goodell said Rice misled him at their June meeting to discuss the assault on Janay Palmer, who was Rice’s fiancée at the time of the incident. TMZ released surveillance footage Monday that showed Rice punching his then-fiance unconscious in an elevator at an Atlantic City, N.J. casino in February. Rice’s contract with the Ravens was terminated Monday, and the NFL then moved to suspend Rice from the league.“This video shows a starkly different sequence of events from what you and your representatives stated when we met on June 16,” Goodell wrote, according to ESPN, “and is important new information that warrants reconsideration of the discipline imposed on you in July.”
But sources close to Rice told NBC’s Peter Alexander that during that June meeting, Rice specifically said he’d hit his then-fiance. Sources told Alexander that the couple has been in counseling sessions since the incident.
The NBC News report contradicts Goodell’s narrative, and it comes just days after the Associated Press reported that an NFL executive had been mailed a copy of the video. League officials claim they had only seen the tape after TMZ released it.These contradictory narratives have led to a growing chorus calling for Goodell’s resignation, but the NFL claims it has handled the situation properly at every step of the way. The NFL has tapped former FBI director Robert Mueller to lead an investigation into the Rice case.
The NFL faced sharp criticism for its handling of the Rice case. The league originally suspended Rice for just two games. Goodell admitted last month that he “didn’t get it right” when he first responded to the incident, and the NFL has introduced stricter punishments for players who are accused of domestic violence.
Rice was arrested in February for the event; he was accepted to an intervention program and the charges were dropped.