According to ESPN, embattled former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice reportedly told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in June he hit his then-fiancee Janay Palmer four months earlier. This contradicts Goodell's earlier statement saying developments were "ambiguous" when he met Rice's camp to discuss the situation.
Former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Ray Rice reportedly told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in June about the controversial elevator incident with his then-fiancee Janay Palmer.
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According to ESPN "Outside the Lines" reporter Don Van Natta, Jr., this would contradict Goodell's statement which says the case was "ambiguous" when he met with Rice and his representatives:
"Ray Rice told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on June 16 that he punched his then-fiancee in a casino elevator, four sources have told 'Outside the Lines,' an assertion that contradicts Goodell's statement this week that 'when we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.'
"Goodell made the statement Tuesday during an interview with CBS News, saying the latest video released by TMZ Sports about the incident was 'inconsistent' with what the former Baltimore Ravens running back had told him. But four sources close to Rice say that during the disciplinary meeting in the commissioner's office on June 16, Rice told Goodell he had hit Janay Rice, then his fiancee, in the face, inside a Revel Casino Hotel elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and had knocked her unconscious.
"'Ray didn't lie to the commissioner,' a source with knowledge of the meeting told 'Outside the Lines.' He told the full truth to Goodell -- he made it clear he had hit her, and he told Goodell he was sorry and that it wouldn't happen again.'
"'He told the truth,' a second source said. 'This is a public lynching of Ray.'
"A third source with knowledge of Rice's discussion with the commissioner said: 'There was no ambiguity about what happened (in the elevator).' A fourth source also confirmed how the information was relayed at the meeting; however, a fifth source with knowledge of the meeting said Rice told Goodell he had 'slapped' his fiancee.
"The accounts given by the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, contradict Goodell's statement that hd did not know precisely what had happened inside the elevator until he watched the TMZ Sports-released videotape on Monday morning. After The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a copy of the in-elevator video was sent by a law enforcement official to an unnamed NFL executive NFL executive last April, the league announced former FBI chief Robert Mueller would lead an independent inquiry of the Rice matter, overseen by New York Giants owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney.
"The discrepancy raises additional questions about Goodell's decision to give the former Baltimore Ravens running back a two-game suspension on July 24 for hitting his now-wife.
"In his letter explaining the reasons for the two-game suspension and financial penalties of $500,000, Goodell wrote to Rice, 'As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league policies and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public, and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.'
"Rice's alleged 'ambiguity' during his meeting with Goodell may also emerge as an issue in Rice's expected appeal of the league's decision on Monday to suspend him indefinitely. A league disciplinary letter outlining the reasons for Monday's suspension has still not been received by Rice or his representatives, two sources said Thursday. After the letter is received, Rice is planning on filing an appeal of Goodell's suspension of an indefinite number of games."
In another related development, 16 female senators sent a letter to Goodell on Sept. 11 clamoring for a "real zero-tolerance policy" against domestic abuse in the league, per a separate ESPN update:
"Sixteen female U.S. senators have sent a letter to commissioner Roger Goodell calling for a 'real zero-tolerance policy' against domestic violence in the NFL.
"The letter was sent to Goodell on Thursday. In it, the senators say they were 'shocked and disgusted' by the video released Monday of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino elevator and a subsequent report by The Associated Press that a league executive by The Associated Press that a league executive received the video from a law enforcement official in April.
"'We are deeply concerned that the NFL's new policy, announced last month, would allow a player to commit a violent act against a woman and return after a short suspension,' the letter reads. 'If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn't get a second chance to play football in the NFL.
"'The NFL's current policy sends a terrible message to players, fans and all Americans that even after committing a horrific act of violence, you can be quickly be back on the field.'
"The letter ends with a call for the NFL 'to institute a real zero-tolerance policy and send a strong message that the league will not tolerate violence against women by its players, who are role models for children across America.'
"The letter was put together by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and was signed by 14 Democrats and two Republicans."
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