The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/15/14
RACHEL MADDOW, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you.
HAYES: Appreciate it.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining this hour, happy Monday.
We`ve got lots coming up on tonight`s show, including a big deal that is
about to happen tomorrow in Kansas. It`s a story with big, national
political implications that has not had much national attention yet. Also
tonight, there`s still more news breaking about the National Football
League, the NFL and its handling of domestic violence by its players. There
is yet more to report tonight on the question of whether the league,
itself, has been trying to cover up its problem with that subject.
Also tonight, a year after the Bridgegate scandal, New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie has now gotten himself into another totally unrelated
scandal that involves not only himself but also another republican, would-
be governor, a Republican candidate for governor in another state that
isn`t New Jersey. That`s all ahead tonight. But we start tonight with
Prince Harry. And we start with Prince Harry because we can. Here is Prince
Harry getting 26,000 people to do the wave. And I will warn you, that he
calls it the Mexican wave, but then he gets them all to do it, right after
he convinces them all that they should put down their drinks first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY CHARLES ALBERT DAVID, PRINCE HENRY OF WALES: If you`ve got a drink,
put it on the floor. No spillages. We`re going to do a Mexican wave.
(Inaudible) again someone in trouble. We`re going to do a Mexican wave from
the front to the back. Put your drinks down. From the front to the back,
one, two, three, go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Prince Harry asking 26,000 people to do the wave. Front of the
stadium to the back of the stadium. But he is savvy enough to know that the
consequences of that that request will be, in his words, spillage, unless
everybody puts down their drink before they try to wave their arms in the
air. It`s a very smart prince. That happened last night in London at the
closing ceremony of something called the Invictus Games.
In the United States, there`s something called the Warrior Games, which is
actually organizes part of the Paralympics, the Paralympic Games. Prince
Harry is in the British army, that`s included him serving in Afghanistan.
He`s a big supporter of veterans. And apparently, after seeing injured
service members compete in the Warrior Games in United States, he went home
and founded basically a companion event. It`s called the Invictus Games
that took place over the last four days in London. More than 400 wounded
service members competing from 13 different countries. They used the
facilities from the London Summer Olympics for the venues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could almost have been two years ago. The red arrows
flying low over the Olympic Park in London to open a spectacle of
competitive sport. Members of the royal family were there. Charles and
Camilla, William, but no Kate, her pregnancy sickness made it impossible.
And most notably on this occasion, Harry, for these are his games. The
Invictus Games, a gathering of men and women from the military of different
nations who suffered life-changing injuries. A small team from Afghanistan
led the parade of athletes, soldiers injured on the battle field for whom
sport has been a vital aid to recovery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was solemn at times and inspiring at time as the Invictus
Games were, you could tell that at the end of four days of these games in
London, the organizers, including Prince Harry himself, they were a little
loose. They were a little willing to bend the royal rules, hence the
alluding of the crowd and the drunken stadium wave. But the prince saying,
this is going to get me in trouble. And I think also, hence, seem going off
script to the press yesterday about something the royal family in Britain
is really not supposed to be weighing in on.
The prince was asked by the press last night where he thought the next
Invictus Games should be held. And he said this. He said, quote, we`ve got
America showing interests for 2016. We`ve got Canada showing interest for
2017. So the question is, what do we do next year in 2015? I personally
would love to keep it in the U.K. Follow up question? Where specifically in
the U.K., would he like to keep the games? The prince had a suggestion in
mind. He said how about Glasgow? That would be a great way to keep the
games in the U.K., put them in Scotland, because Scotland for now is part
of the U.K.
The royal family, both in times when they`re beloved and in times when
they`re not, they`re expected to remain strictly neutral on political
matters in the United Kingdom, and the question of whether or not Scotland
is going to be a part of the U.K. anymore, that is an acutely political
question right now. But referendum is this Thursday for Scotland to decide
whether it is going to vote no on independent and stay in the U.K, or
whether they are going to vote yes and become their own, independent
country. Something like 97 percent of the Scottish population over the age
of 16 is registered to vote in this referendum on Thursday, 97 percent.
It`s unclear at this point whether or not Scotland would be keeping the
royal family in place as had to state. If they do go independent, the
leader of the Independence Movements in Scotland says he hopes the queen
would stay on for an independent Scotland. He says she could be Elizabeth,
Queen of Scots. There`s some precedent for that. It`s not clear that would
work again. The further as the queen herself has been willing to go in
talking about the referendum is to allow herself to be overheard yesterday
while she told someone after a church service, quote, I hope everybody
thinks very carefully about the referendum this week.
So she`s definitely keeping her cards close, right? But there`s her
grandson, Prince Harry, saying next year in Glasgow. Everybody do the wave.
Until very recently, nobody really thought that the independence campaign
had a shot in Scotland. That the last is appalling leading up to the vote,
it has looked like either a tie or maybe even a yes vote narrowly leading.
And so, the British government and the other powers that be – who do not
want the U.K. to break up, they are now, right now, pulling out all the
stops to try to stop the independent side from winning. The pro-
independence, the vote yes side, they know that they have the momentum
heading into the vote.
They are deriving as desperate, all of these last minute efforts to derail
them. All these politicians coming north from England drop to Scotland to
say please, vote no. But that charge of desperation, that is a charge the
British prime minister is not running from anymore. The British prime
minister is calling himself, desperate at this point. Today, he posted this
on Facebook. It says, quote, I desperately want our family of nations to
stay together. It would be heartbreaking to wake up on Friday morning to
the end of the country we love. Then, today, in Scotland, in Aberdeen,
Prime Minister David Cameron did his hearted felt begging in person.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: For the people of Scotland to walk
away now would be like painstakingly building a home and then walking out
the door and throwing away the keys.
So I would say to everyone voting on Thursday, please, remember, this isn`t
just any old country. This is the United Kingdom. This is our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was about as emotional as upper crust British politicians get.
But this is an emotional time for that country. It`s an emotional time for
the prime minister himself if David Cameron is the prime minister on whose
watch, his country actually breaks apart. There is a growing expectation
that he will have to resign or he will be forced out as prime minister.
Even with the very close polling on the issue and with the expectation of
near 100 percent voter turn out, there is a large chunk of the Scottish
population that says they`re still undecided as to how they`re going to
vote. So that means, the next 48 hours is basically going to be – no
No holds barred, constant campaigning trying to sway every last voter in
Scotland before they go to the polls on Thursday. This is a very high-
stakes, very emotional time. And it happens at the exact same time that the
U.K. is facing a serious foreign policy challenge and a serious terrorism
challenge. On Saturday night, a Sunni militant group ISIS released yet
another video of, yet, another beheading. Their first video a few weeks ago
showed the killing of an American journalist, Jim Foley. In that video,
they threatened to kill a second American, Steven Sotloff. And second video
showed the killing of Steven Sotloff and then they threatened to kill a
British man named David Haines, an aid worker.
Well, this video that was posted Saturday night showed the killing of David
Haines and showed a threat to kill another British hostage, a man named
Allen Henning. Allen Henning is in his late 40s and he`s working in Syria
as an aid worker, just to state of Haines` was (ph), and this terrorist
group says they plan to kill him next. David Cameron made a televised
address in the U.K. after the video of David Haines` killing was released.
He said, today the whole country want to express into deep sympathy for
David Haines` family, they`ve endure the last 18 months of David`s
captivity with extraordinary courage, and now David has been murdered in
the most callous and brutal way imaginable.
He said, we have to confront this menace. The United States is taking
direct military action, we support their efforts. British tornadoes and
surveillance aircraft have been helping with intelligence gathering in
logistics. He closed by saying, this is not something we can do on our own.
We have to work with the rest of the world. But ultimately, our security as
a nation, the way we go about our everyday lives in this free and tolerant
society that is Britain, it has always dependent on our readiness to act
against those who stand for hatred and who stand for destruction, and that
is exactly what we will do.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that in a televised address in
the U.K. last night. That is some of what is going on in the U.K. right
now. As the U.K. simultaneously considering this week whether a part of the
country will vote to secede from their union – I mean, if you have ever
wanted the job of being British prime minister, let`s say you just saw some
great BBC mini series and it made you want to be prime minister, if you`ve
had that fantasy, this week is not one of those weeks that you might
fantasize about having that job. Beyond that incredibly difficult debate in
the U.K., because a lot of external issues in the U.K. and beyond what`s
going on here at home, the response to ISIS, basically continues on three
levels right now.
The first level is diplomatic. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris
today for an international summit designed to secure commitments from as
many countries as possible to contribute to the fight against ISIS. This
Paris summit today follows a similar summit of Arab countries that was
hosted in Saudi Arabia at the end of last week. U.S. officials said
yesterday that offers from the Arab world so far, specifically, include
offers to carry out air strikes against ISIS. Although no Muslim
governments are admitting to that in public even if they are reportedly
telling that to U.S. government officials behind the scenes. So the effort
to assemble a Gulf War I style international coalition for action against
ISIS, that`s one level of response so far, the diplomatic level.
The second level of the response is military, already. The Pentagon
confirming late tonight that this is a newly expanded military effort in
Iraq now, we`re up over 160 air strikes overall. And what the Pentagon just
released tonight, they`re describing two air strike that took place
yesterday and today. And what`s notable about these is that they have a
different strategy behind them. The Pentagon saying tonight, quote, the air
strikes Southwest of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our
expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions
to instead hit ISIL targets, as Iraqi forces go on offense, as outlined in
the president`s speech last Wednesday. In total of planning on says the
strikes destroyed 6 ISIL vehicles in Mount Sinjar and in ISIL fighting
position Southwest of Baghdad that was firing on Iraqi personnel. All
aircraft exited the strike areas safely.
So if the previous efforts – military efforts and Iraqi the about
humanitarian missions and stopping ISIS from taking over key
infrastructure, now they`re saying they`re hunting down ISIS positions and
bombing them there. So, putting together the international coalition,
that`s diplomacy. This newly expanded military effort, newly expanded air
strikes in Iraq in support of Iraqi forces that are fighting ISIS on the
ground. But then there`s the third level, at which this response is going
forward, and that`s the political level here in our own country and how
that is going to play out, really, is anyone`s guest. This is fast-moving
in terms of the politics here. The house of representatives came back early
today from suppose to be long weekend to instead start considering ISIS.
They initially said they wanted to have a vote tomorrow on whether or not
congress will approve efforts to arm and support Syrian rebel groups other
than ISIS. Groups that are fighting inside Syria. Congress has now decided
to put that vote off until Wednesday at the earliest, even though they
wanted to vote tomorrow.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
Martin Dempsey are scheduled to testify in the hose on that issue tomorrow.
And the house may want to listen carefully while they are speaking. As
recently as last summer, the Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey had wrote
this – has written this letter to congress, warning congress about the
risks of choosing rebels to support in Syria. This letter said, quote, the
risks include extremists gaining access to additional capabilities,
retaliatory cross border attacks or our inadvertent association with war
crimes due to many difficulties. We try to vet those rebels. The decision
of whether or not to arm Syrian rebel groups is not an easy decision. If it
was an easy call, congress could have made that decision last year, the
last time that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs this morning that it might
lead to all sorts of horrible results. But the arming the rebel`s question
is something that congress thinks is an easier question than authorizing
the U.S. military action that`s already happening against ISIS and that the
president had said he is expanding.
Today, Congressman Adam Schiff of California introduced the latest
resolution that would have congress authorize military force in Iraq. His
resolution would authorize it for 18 months. But such is the state of our
politics on war and peace right now as a country. But the big question for
our congress is not even whether your member of congress would vote yes or
vote no to using force on a resolution like Adam Schiff`s. The big question
right now in Washington is whether you your member of congress would even
like to vote at all. One way or the other on this rapidly expanding
military operation or whether they`d just like to pretend that it`s none of
their business and the president does this stuff alone on his own say-so.
And here`s just one more thought as congress considers how much they really
want to try to duck this question. A new few poll just came out today on
how the American public feels about fighting against ISIS. And the top line
results on that poll are very interesting. I`m not sure I expected this.
Democratic support President Obama`s plan for using military force against
ISIS. Republicans support president`s plan for fighting ISIS. Independence
are a little bit below a majority of the aisle those up, over all the
American people are in support of what the president says he wants to do in
terms of using force against ISIS. Just keep that in mind. But then, look
at this. Ask the public which broadly supports fighting ISIS, ask them what
they think the effect will be of us doing that?
What will be the effect of the U.S. taking military action against ISIS. Do
you think it will make us more likely to face a terrorist attack here at
home, or do you think it will make us safer here at home? In this same
poll. Way more people believe that will make us more likely to be attacked
here at home if we take military action against ISIS. But, still, the
public broadly still supports taking that military action. I told you these
politics are changing fast. Joining us now is Andrew Bacevich. He`s a
retired army colonel. He`s currently a George McGovern Fellow at Columbia
University. He`s the author of Breech of Trust, how Americans failed their
soldiers and their country, as well as a number of other books, all of
which I have read and liked very much. Professor, nice to see you. Thank
ANDREW BACEVICH, CHAIR OF INT`L RELATIONS: Thank you.
MADDOW: How is the debate going so far? You`ve been a pretty harsh critic
of how well we debate matters of war and peace in our country now. How does
this debate going?
BACEVICH: Well, I think this confirms how peaceful them as the congress is.
I mean, you`ve made the point that they are running away from the notion of
voting on the president`s initiative. We kind of understand why they`re
doing that because we`re facing an off-year election in another what? Less
than two months? But it seems to me that it`s very unfortunate. Over the
course of the past basically 60-70 years. Well, going back to the Korean
war. We`ve developed this habit of deferring to the chief executive to
decide matters of war and peace quite contrary to what the congress –
excuse me, the constitution calls for. Many people had made the point that
we need to reverse that. We need to adhere to the constitution. This is a
chance to do that and the congress won`t fulfill its responsibilities in
that regard. I think it`s appalling.
MADDOW: So far, they are not fulfilling their responsibilities. You do see
individual members both republican and democrat starting to introduce
proposed resolutions to authorize the use of force. We don`t yet know if
they`re going to vote on it. It seems like what they`re going to vote on
first is the specific question of supporting the Syrian – supporting
Syrian rebel groups other than ISIS.
BACEVICH: Which is a peripheral issue. The main issue here is shall we,
once again, engage in the Iraq war? And the president is clear that he
wants to do that. I`ll be it in a certain way, emphasizing air power, but
promising not to use ground troops. But any way you cut it, it`s a war. And
congress ought to be the body that decides whether or not we`re going to go
MADDOW: As they do consider this, as you put it, this peripheral issue,
this other issue about arming Syrian rebels, my sense, just as a political
observer, is that they`ve hived that off and put that first for two
reasons. One, because they think it`s an easier question.
BACEVICH: But it`s not.
MADDOW: doesn`t seem like an easier question, but also, because they think
that if they vote on that, that might make it look like they`re voting on
the issue and then they don`t have to move on to the separate issue, that
is an American – American war. I wonder what your sense is of the American
public`s side of that political calculation.
BACEVICH: Well, you were just talking about that poll where you were siding
the results is kind of contradictory. I think in many respects they`re not.
I mean, on the surface they are. The American people support action against
ISIS. Why? Because we are appalled by what this organization has done. In
particular with regard to the murder of the American journalist, and so, I
think that evokes a popular sense of we need to do something to pay these
people back. On the other hand, the American people, I think, have – do
have a larger appreciation that over the past basically since 9/11 are
military efforts in the greater Middle East. They`ve failed. And so they`re
not eager to make this be a big war. And frankly, I think the president
also appreciates that. That`s why every time he talks about this war, he,
on the one hand says, we`re going to degrade and defeat ISIS. And, on the
other hand, don`t worry, I promise I`m not going to commit U.S. ground
troops, which is a way of reassuring Americans that this commitment will be
a limited one, and that`s a way to maintain the somewhat tenuous support
for the actions that he is proposing to pick.
MADDOW: Is there a way that a president, any president or this president on
particular could scratch that itch of the American polity that we want to
do something. Scratch that itch make people feel like something is being
done. In fact, do something without starting another war or is it, do we
automatically reflex toward war when we want an action.
BACEVICH: Well, we do. I mean, to me, this is the subject I wished that the
discourse here would focus on – I don`t think the question is what to do
about ISIS. I mean, if we could magically destroy ISIS tomorrow, we would
defeat them tomorrow. The conditions that gave rise to ISIS would still
BACEVICH: What do you want to call it? Political dysfunction? Economic
underdevelopment? Alienation? Failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict? All of the above? Those – that`s where ISIS comes from and my
view is that, yes, let`s go after ISIS. But let`s not kid ourselves that if
we destroy ISIS, we somehow accomplish some larger purpose with regard to
moving this region back from chaos towards some amount of stability. And
that needs to be our goal.
MADDOW: Professor Andrew Bacevich, George McGovern Fellow at Columbia
University, and I should tell you, the professor has an online course right
now called America`s War For The Greater Middle East, which goes live on
September 24th. We have the information about that on our web site tonight
if you`d like to learn more. Andrew Bacevich, thank you so much.
BACEVICH: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: It`s always good to see you. All right, lots more ahead on
tonight`s show, including some latest news from tonight on the NFL`s
unfortunately metastasizing domestic abuse scandal. Please, stay with us.
MADDOW: Tomorrow morning is going to be a big morning, a big, big, bigger
than big whale of a morning. Tomorrow morning my excitable friends, we get
the four most-exciting words in at-home viewing (inaudible). Watch Supreme
Court live. Exclamation point. The Kansas Supreme Court live tomorrow
morning, exclamation point.
And although I am sure oral arguments for the Kansas Supreme Court are
always exciting and worth watching, exclamation point, the arguments
tomorrow morning are not only going to be great, they`re actually also kind
of a big deal and you can watch them live. The high court of Kansas
tomorrow is due to hear oral arguments on what could be a critical race in
terms of who controls the United States senate for the rest of the Obama
presidency. The court is going to decide whether the Kansas senate election
can be a two-way race between a republican incumbent and an independent or
if the judges are going to force instead to be an unwilling three-way race.
So this is the re-election race in Kansas for Republican Senator Pat
Roberts. Because there is a strong independent in the race, it looks like
he may have a shot at beating Pat Roberts. The democratic candidate wants
to drop out of the race in order to give the independent guy a clean shot.
However, Kansas republican secretary of state have said that in democratic
eye, he didn`t fill out his paperwork in exactly the right way so he`s not
allowed to quit. If the court forces this to be a three-way race, it they
don`t let that guy quit, then the polling says the incumbent Republican Pat
Roberts looks to be on his way to winning re-election. Even though he`s
pretty unpopular and he hasn`t really campaigned all that harder, all that
If the democrat can drop out in a two-way race, the polling says the
independent can beat Pat Roberts. If so, republicans hope for capturing the
United States senate this year will get much, much shakier. And, so, yes,
I`ve checked. And I can tell you, that the Kansas Supreme Court online
streaming countdown clock is rolling right now. The court battle kicks off
at 10:00 A.M. Eastern, 9:00 local time, 20 minutes all argument for each
side and control of the United States senate potentially at stake.
What`s happening now in bright red Kansas has been a fascinating story
right, with this three-way, two-way race. But Kansas is not the only place
where something that weird is happening. We have seen the virtually exact
same dynamic play out in Alaska this month. In Alaska, they had a three-way
race for governor, with the democrat and an independent splitting the vote
against the republican incumbent. Like in Kansas, the democrat in Alaska
also decided to quit the race because it offered a better chance for
unseating the incumbent republican. But in Alaska, they did it a little
differently, in Alaska, the democratic candidate for governor quit the race
for governor but, instead, signed onto run for lieutenant governor on the
same ticket as the independent guy with he used to be splitting the vote
against the republican incumbent (inaudible).
In Alaska, the democrats and the independents have formed a rare fusion
ticket to try to beat the republican. So the fusion ticket in Alaska, in
Kansas, they`re trying to get the democrat out of the race all together so
it can just be the incumbent versus the republican – sorry, the
independent versus the republican. This is kind of a thing this year in
politics, right? We`ve got it happening in Kansas and we`ve got it
happening in Alaska.
And because the rule of trifecta never fails me, there is now some question
as to whether a similar dynamic might also emerging in Maine. Tea Party
Republican Governor Paul LePage. He won the gubernatorial election in Maine
last time with just 38 percent of the vote. And the reason Paul LePage was
able to become governor of Maine with nowhere near a majority of vote is
because the vote in that race was split three ways. Governor Paul LePage
won with just a 38 percent, an independent named Eliot Cutler was a couple
of points behind him. And the democrat just got whomped in that race. That
split vote in 2010 created the amazing and often surreal experience of
Maine having a Tea Party governor named Paul LePage. Now he`s running for
And this time around, that same independent candidate, Eliot Cutler, is
back in the race. But this time, the democratic candidate actually has a
better chance of winning. At least that`s what the polls look like. A new
poll out yesterday shows Democrat Mike Michaud leading the current three
way field by a single point. That`s Mike Michaud in the center there, 43
points. The independent, Eliot Cutler making his second bid as an
independent, he`s only drawing 11 percent of the vote now. But if this were
a two-way race, in a race just between the Republican and the Democrat,
then Democrat Mike Michaud is already ahead by four.
Half the people who say they`d vote for the independent guy in a three-way
race say if it happened to end up being just a two-way competition, they
would vote for the Democrat. So that would be enough probably to turf out
So same dynamic at work here?
I should tell you that the independent in Maine, Eliot Cutler, his campaign
says he will not quit the race no matter what. He doesn`t view himself as
a spoiler. It should be noted that he did finish a very close second in
But you know what, in politics, nobody ever says they`ll quit the race
until they quit the race. Independents and Democrats have decided to pull
on the same side of the tug-of-war in order to defeat incumbent Republicans
this year in the Kansas Senate race and in the Alaska governor`s race this
Are they going to do so in the Maine governor`s race as well?
This is a new thing emerging for this year`s elections.
How many states is this going to happen in?
Watch this space. Time is running out.
MADDOW: This is the weather report tonight for the city of Indianapolis.
The forecast calls for temperatures of around 62 degrees – that`s nice –
but also a steady mix of rain and thunderstorms pretty much throughout the
night, sort of a rainy, stormy unsettled mess tonight in Indianapolis. I
am clearly not a weather person. We don`t usually do local weather reports
on this show.
But the weather tonight in Indianapolis, it`s sort of a national story
because it means that is this banner will not be flying over Lucas Oil
Stadium in Indianapolis starting tonight`s Monday Night Football matchup
between the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles.
This banner, you see it in red there? It says #GoodellMustGo. This banner
was set to be flown over the stadium tonight during the Colts-Eagles game.
That will no longer happen because of tonight`s inclement weather in
Indianapolis. And naturally, the Goodell in the #GoodellMustGo banner is
Roger Goodell. He`s the commissioner of the NFL.
And while that sign will not fly above the skies of Indianapolis tonight,
it did fly over three NFL stadiums yesterday in Cleveland, in San Francisco
and in New Jersey. The banners were the work of a women`s rights nonprofit
group called UltraViolet, an activist group which, along with the National
Organization for Women has called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to
resign over his handling of the NFL`s Ray Rice situation.
Commissioner Goodell`s decision to initially hand down only a two-game
suspension of Mr. Rice after he was arrested on domestic violence charges.
But the pressure that is building against Roger Goodell is no longer just
about the Ray Rice situation. The NFL now also has an Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson is a real football star. Everybody in the NFL is really
good. Adrian Peterson is like household name good. He is a star running
back for the Minnesota Vikings.
He was indicted by a Texas grand jury last week on charges of reckless or
negligent injury to a child. At my decision, we have opted not to show you
the images that have been released of the injuries to the 4-year-old boy
apparently caused by his father. But they apparently came by Mr. Peterson
hitting the boy with a switch, hitting him with a thin, wooden rod, which
is usually a tree branch.
The boy – again, 4 years old – is reported to have suffered unspecified
injuries from the beating.
Adrian Peterson turned himself in to police in Texas this weekend. He
posted a $15,000 bond. That happened on Saturday.
And then when the Vikings played against the Patriots on Sunday, the
Vikings held Adrian Peterson out of the game. He didn`t play.
Today, though, the Vikings general manager announced that, despite the
indictment, despite his star player being out on bond on felony abuse
charges that could get him years in prison, today the Vikings announce that
Adrian Peterson will practice and will play with his team in this weekend`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SPIELMAN, MINNESOTA VIKINGS GENERAL MANAGER: This is a very important
issue. And I want to take time to emphasize that the issue of child
welfare is extremely serious and should be taken serious not only by us,
but by everybody.
We are trying to do the right thing. This is a difficult path to navigate,
regarding the judgment of how a parent disciplines his child. Based on the
extensive information that we have right now and what we know about Adrian,
not only as a person, but what he has also done for this community, we
believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He deserves to play. If you run an NFL team or if you`re a coach
or if you`re an owner, this is sort of the new normal. Monday press
conferences used to be for talking about Sunday`s game and updating the
press on player injuries and stuff.
But, now, the NFL press corps is instead asking insistent questions about
team policies and league policies concerning star players who beat their
wives and children and the question of whether or not teams are going to
let their star players play while under felony indictment or after they`ve
This is Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. Greg Hardy was
convicted in July on two counts of domestic violence after assaulting and
threatening to kill his girlfriend. Greg Hardy is appealing that
conviction. And his team, Carolina Panthers, initially allowed him to play
pending his appeal after the conviction. Greg Hardy played in his team`s
first game of the season last week.
But then, this past weekend, they decided that they were going to bench
him. Today, Greg Hardy`s coach had to face the media about his team`s
shifting response to that domestic violence situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Is Greg going to be with the team this week?
RON RIVERA, CAROLINA PANTHERS COACH: Oh, Greg is with the team. I mean,
we`re in a situation obviously where we`re going to go through this week
and evaluate the circumstances and situation. In light of a lot of things
that have happened, we`re going to continue to gather information on this.
This is a very fluid situation, guys. And we`ll see what happened.
QUESTION: Was there any new information since you guys played him in week
one but sat him in week two? Was there any new information in this week -
RIVERA: I don`t know if I would say new information as much as you know,
some of the things that changed in the climate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is a mess right now for the NFL. It`s all of these teams
dealing with all of these domestic violence issues with no apparent rhyme
or reason for how they`re dealing with them.
Think about this, right? Ray Rice gets a two-game suspension and then
ultimately an indefinite suspension for his domestic assault incident
against his then fiancee. Carolina Panthers guy, Greg Hardy, gets
convicted of two counts of domestic abuse, then he`s allowed to play a
game, then he gets benched for a game and now his status is fluid for this
coming weekend`s game, not because of anything about him but because of a
Adrian Peterson, as we mentioned, gets indicted on child abuse charges.
He`s held out of a game this past weekend right after turning himself in.
But now he`s clear to play next weekend.
And then there`s Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers, who was arrested
on suspicion of battering his pregnant fiancee and who has been allowed to
play in both games so far this season and there`s no reason to believe
anything will change in that regard this coming weekend.
He`s out on bail. His court appearance has been postponed until later this
So that`s four players and four incidents and four situations where the NFL
and the individual teams are just sort of freelancing in terms of
punishments or non-punishments or when you get a punishment or when you
don`t and what the standard is.
Everybody`s just playing it by ear, trying to gauge public reaction to
their decisions and the making adjustments on the fly.
This is a multi-billion dollar industry, the premier cultural institution
of the United States of America in the 21st century. There`s now a white-
hot spotlight on the NFL and particular on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
for the seemingly haphazard, random approach to how the NFL is policing
these issues or not policing them.
Roger Goodell has now chosen to deal with that spotlight by disappearing.
Commissioner Goodell was expected to attend last night`s Sunday Night
Football game in San Francisco, the big grand opening of San Francisco`s
new multi-multi-multi-million dollar stadium.
But Roger Goodell, in the end, was a no-show as the situation surrounding
him and his league grows worse by the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERA: We`re in a situation, obviously, where we`re going to go through
this week and evaluate the circumstances, the situation in light of a lot
of things that have happened, you know, we`re going to continue to gather
information on this. This is a very fluid situation, guys. And we`ll see
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A very fluid situation. Carolina Panthers` Coach Ron Rivera,
struggling to answer one of the many questions he`s now facing about how
much of a domestic abuse problem is too much of a domestic abuse problem
when it comes to deciding whether or not you get to play football in the
National Football League.
Joining us now is Shira Springer. She`s a sports enterprise reporter for
“The Boston Globe,” Ms. Springer, thanks very much for being with us. It`s
good to have you here.
SHIRA SPRINGER, “THE BOSTON GLOBE”: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So is this chaos at this point?
Or is there a method to the madness that I do not see?
As far as I can tell, it`s Ray Rice indefinitely suspended after previously
it was a two-game suspension; Ray McDonald out on bail, playing; Greg
Hardy, convicted, playing in game one, but not in game two. Now, Adrian
Peterson, indicted, out in game one but back in for game two.
It feels like chaos to me.
SPRINGER: It feels like chaos to me, too. There is absolutely no rhyme or
reason to any of these punishments, any of the stances the teams have
taken. They lack logic. For Ron Rivera to get up there and say this is a
fluid situation with a player that`s been convicted is laughable.
And it just seems that teams don`t know what they`re doing. The league
doesn`t know what they`re doing and they`re grasping at straws because
they`re in total crisis management at this point.
MADDOW: In terms of the NFL`s response, we heard from the NFL today that
they`re hiring or promoting four women to serve as advisors in shaping the
league`s stance on domestic violence, including women who`ve been very
involved with this, both in the law enforcement side and as advocates.
Do you see that as a substantive move?
Is this improving the masthead sort of decision?
Or is this something where it might actually change the way the league is
SPRINGER: I think it might actually change the way the league is behaving
because of one woman in particular, Lisa Friel. She was the head of the
sex crimes prosecutions in the Massachusetts – Massachusetts, rather the
Manhattan district attorney`s office.
And I have spoken to people who have worked for her in that office and they
have nothing but praise for her. And more importantly, they say that she
is a woman who can speak truth to power, who will speak her mind and will
not fear telling Goodell or the owners, for that matter, what they need to
hear even though it may be what they don`t want to hear about various
domestic abuse and various sexual abuse cases that come across her desk.
And she`s going to be in charge of the investigative wing of the NFL`s new
policy. So I am hopeful that with more strict investigations into these
matters, more thorough investigations, that there will be more fitting
punishments and more rhyme and reason to those punishments.
MADDOW: I am a person who follows football enough to be a fan, but I –
before these scandals, never paid attention to the administration of
Is it a weird thing that Roger Goodell was a no-show at Sunday night in –
at the Sunday game in San Francisco yesterday?
He was expected today be there, as far as I`ve heard.
SPRINGER: Yes, he was expected to be there. And the owner of the 49ers, I
believe up until Saturday afternoon, believed he was coming.
So, yes, it is weird. I mean, when you`re putting out, you know, opening
these billion-dollar stadiums, you want the commissioner there – at least
you used to want the commissioner there. Now that may not be the case.
MADDOW: Shira Springer, sports enterprise reporter for “The Boston Globe,”
thanks for helping us understand this. Very helpful. Thanks a lot.
SPRINGER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got lots more to come, including a best new
thing in the world. And you know you need it. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So this, this is you. This is what you look like to your United
Have you ever had a chance to meet your senator up close and personal, did
you ever notice maybe looking at a senator the kind of strange look in his
eye or her eye? Something you couldn`t quite figure out?
Maybe it`s because when your senator was looking at you, he or she was
actually seeing one and one-third pieces of paper, because one and one-
third pieces of paper is what your senator`s office gets for every single
adult constituent in his or her home state. That`s how much paper they`re
If you`re your senator`s constituent, this is what you mean to them. And
the reason we know that is awesome. It`s brand new. We never knew it
before today. And it is by far the best new thing in the world today. And
that story is coming. Hold on.
MADDOW: OK. Best new thing in the world today, I love this one, God bless
you “USA Today.” Look at their headline today. “Senate has a secret book
Oh, really? Tell me more.
“USA Today” obtained and published something that has never been made
public. It`s the official handbook of how to be a United States senator.
This is a real thing. And it`s apparently so secret that the Library of
Congress doesn`t even have a copy of it.
Today, thanks to “USA Today” it was made available online in almost its
entirety – they only cut out the security parts of it – and apparently
this handbook`s been around forever. Before today, though, it was always
secret. It`s basically a reference guide for everything senators need to
know, what constitutes an appropriate expenditure on travel or a map of all
the parking lots that you can park in as a senator.
And then there`s this, quote, “Music on hold is available to leadership
offices as an alternative to silence when callers to their office are
placed on hold. The leaders, whips and assistant leaders and conquered
secretaries may select one hold music program source from four available
Senate hold music, because one of those things that are apparently there
was a secret rule about. But we now know about the four options. We
called that phone number listed in the handbook today that offers Senate
leaders their choice of hold music. This is what happens when you call
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to the Senate Music on Hold sample selection
line. Please note that you may press * at any time to return to the main
menu to listen to another selection.
Your four selection choices are as follows: press one for classical, press
two for environmental, press three for patriotic or press four for country
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s America, OK, four different choices. Which one to – let`s
– I`m a liberal. Let`s go with environmental.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A sample environmental music:
MADDOW: That`s not environmental.
Anyway, maybe something with a little more edge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sample country Western music.
MADDOW: Yes, hit it.
MADDOW: Yes. That last one, if you are listening closely, is the country
classic, “She Thinks My Tractor`s Sexy.”
And if you`ve ever had the pleasure of being put on hold at Senate Minority
Whip John Cornyn`s office, “She Thinks My Tractor`s Sexy” is the hold music
you will get. He went with country and Western as his choice.
Thanks to the Senate handbook, we now have a whole new set of categories to
put senators in, right? They`re not just Democratic or Republican or
independent; you can classify them as patriotic, classical, country and
Western or environmental.
Senator Patty Murray is classical. We`ve checked her hold music today –
that`s hers. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso on the other hand, he picked
patriotic music. A lot of brass. So did House Speaker John Boehner. He
went with the patriotic category of hold music.
Also thanks to the Senate handbook, we now know how your senator`s office
gets its paper. They get an amount of paper by dictate of the Senate,
according to a very strict formula. Each member gets one and one-third
pieces of paper for every adult constituent in their state.
So if you`re from California, that means that Barbara Boxer and Dianne
Feinstein have each been issued one-and-a-third pieces of paper with your
name on it, which adds up to more than 30 million pieces of paper per
Much less for Wyoming, right?
Also if you were ever wondering how your senator decorates his or her
office, apparently with a little help from the U.S. Botanical Garden. Each
senator, according to the Senate rulebook, is allowed to borrow up to six
plants from our national botanical garden annually but no more than three
plants at a time. No hoarding the plants!
It`s all in the Senate handbook, which used to be secret, but “USA Today”
published it. It is without question the best new thing in the world. You
can take a look at the handbook yourself. We posted the whole thing online
tonight at Maddow Blog.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time
for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
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