The NFL's two-game suspension of Ray Rice has come under a lot of criticism for its leniency, especially after security footage of the incident in question went viral. The majority of Internet surfers have probably seen the clip of the Ravens' star running back dragging his unconscious then-fiancee -- now wife -- out of a hotel elevator. The video that far fewer people have seen is the security footage from inside the elevator containing the actual physical contact that led to Mrs. Rice being knocked out.
That tape, which would seem crucial to determining the egregiousness of the abuse, was reportedly never viewed by the NFL league offices.
PFT's Mike Florio joined "The Dan Patrick Show" to discuss the fact that the league never looked at the footage during the process of determining the length of Rice's suspension. Since, according to Florio, the tape should have been easy to acquire, the league's failure to view the piece of evidence begs the question: Did the NFL deliberately avoid the video footage?
"When we’re going through the process of evaluating the issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that you have available," commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on Friday. "Law enforcement normally has more — on a normal basis — has more information, facts, than we have. We’ll get as much as we possibly can.”
Clearly, the security tapes would fall into the category of available information.
"I was shocked," Florio said when asked how he reacted to the revelation that the NFL had not looked at the video. "That is an amazing twist in this story, in my view."
What makes it so shocking and amazing is the ease with which the league could have acquired the footage.
"This is very easy and very simple," Florio said. "You could try to contact the prosecutor's office in Atlantic County, N.J. and they would tell you, 'We're not giving it to you.' But Ray Rice's lawyer has the ability, through the criminal prosecution, to get the information. ... The prosecution has to give you anything they may use against you at trial. That video is part of it. Rice's lawyer got it. All you have to do if you're the NFL is go to Rice's lawyer and say 'we want it.' ... It would have been a very easy process for the NFL to insist that Rice surrender it."
As for the actual series of events that led to the NFL's blatant oversight, they are unknown.
"I don't know why they didn't do it," Florio said. "I don't know whether they tried and Rice stonewalled them. But either way, they could have gotten it if they really wanted it."
The only explanation for the league's apparent lack of due diligence would be that it derived the length of Rice's suspension directly from the court's punishment after the court had considered all the evidence -- tape included. But Florio is not buying it.
"Why in the world would the commissioner and the rest of the league office not want to see it when they're ultimately going to be imposing discipline on Ray Rice?"
The NFL still hasn't spoken or issued a statement on the matter.
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- Ray Rice
- Mike Florio