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article imageOp-Ed: The NFL's cheats, lies and videotape: Ray Rice saga continues

By Greta McClain     Sep 11, 2014 in Sports
Atlantic City - Despite NFL claims that requests for security footage of the altercation between Ray Rice and his then-fiancee were denied, a 12-second voice message recording shows the league received the footage five months ago.
NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell is not only facing a public relations nightmare, but the honesty and integrity of Goodell and other NFL executives are being called into questions.
On Monday, security camera footage released by TMZ showed Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, allegedly spitting on and striking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer while in an Atlantic City casino elevator. As reported by Digital Journal, the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens both claimed the released TMZ video was the first they had seen the video.
According to an Associated Press report, Goodall stated Tuesday that he had assumed there was video footage of the incident, had asked for the footage, but never received it.
During an interview Wednesday with CBS This Morning, Goodell responded to questions as to whether anyone with his office had seen the video, saying:
"No one in the NFL [saw the second video] to my knowledge. And I asked that same question and the answer to that is no."
Goodell went on to say he saw the video for the first time on Monday before adding:
"I don't know how TMZ or any other website gets their information. We are particularly reliant on law enforcement. That's the most reliable. That's the most credible. We don't seek to get that information from sources that are not credible."
Goodell also sent a letter to team owners Wednesday saying his office had asked law enforcement for video footage, but had never approached the casino. When explaining why he did not approach the casino, Goodell claims that any information obtained outside of law enforcement "is not necessarily a reliable basis for imposing league discipline."
Goodell's claims appear to be ringing hollow however. He was already widely criticized for suspending Rice for only two-games after the incident first came to light in February. Goodell was accused of being more concerned about public relations than addressing the problem of domestic violence. Many point to the open letter Goodell sent to Rice in July. In the letter Goodell says:
"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."
The public outcry over the minimal suspension led Goodell to admit he "dropped the ball" and missed a chance to show his commitment to addressing the issue of domestic violence. In a letter written by Goodell, he stated:
"My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will."
Following the August 29th announcement that the league was instituting a new domestic violence police, many questioned Goodell's motives. Was the new policy truly aimed at addressing the issue of domestic violence, or was it a public relations decision he hoped would pacify fans, especially the estimated 45 percent of fans who are female.
Now comes the revelation that the league received the elevator video footage in April of this year.
The Associated Press reports an April 9th voicemail from an NFL office number confirms they had received the video, with the female caller saying "You're right. It's terrible."
The voicemail recording was provided by a law enforcement official who states he sent the video footage to an NFL executive so they could have it before deciding on Rice's punishment. He also says he provided his contact information so the executive could contact him, however no further contact was ever made. Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, responded to the report by simply saying:
“We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it.”
If an executive with the NFL had the video since April of this year, why claim they have never seen the footage? If it was simply that they did not watch the video, what was the rationale for not viewing the footage? If the league was genuinely interested in obtaining the facts surrounding the Ray Rice incident, there is no reasonable explanation why the league would not review the footage, especially since it was obtained from a member of law enforcement. By the same token, it seems only logical that Goodell and NFL executives would jump at the chance to see the footage if they indeed believed the league stands for "for important values", can "project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football and "embrace [the] role and the responsibility that comes with it.
However, if the league is simply interested in protecting its image so as to not jeopardize its estimated $6 billion in revenue, then the answer becomes more clear. Unfortunately, if it is merely a public relations and revenue issue, the league has also failed to protect its precious image.
It is time for Goodell and the league to take a stand and be honest about its priorities. If the NFL truly wants to be a leader and "embrace that responsibility", then do so by doing what is right instead of attempting to hide the truth to protect its image. Transparency, honesty and showing a genuine effort projects a much better image than the muddled mess of apologies and apparent cover-ups in which the league currently finds itself.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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