NFL says looking into report it had Ray Rice video in April

Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:55pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - The NFL said on Wednesday it was unaware of any of its officials obtaining a video five months ago showing former player Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an elevator, but it will "look into" a report that it received the clip in April.

A law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press he had sent the video of the February incident to a league official in April because he wanted the NFL to have it before deciding how to punish Rice.

The NFL has steadfastly insisted it had not seen the video until it went viral on Monday.

“We have no knowledge of this. We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday," Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the National Football League, told Reuters. Even so, "we will look into it.”

The NFL suspended Rice indefinitely after the release of the video, taken inside an elevator in a New Jersey casino, saying the clip showed the violence of the incident. Rice's team, the Baltimore Ravens, also cut the three-time Pro Bowler.

Weeks earlier NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice for just two games, based on another video taken from a camera outside the elevator that showed him dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer, who he later married.

Critics of the league's handling of the incident contend that Goodell was too lenient in his initial punishment. Since the release of the new video, questions have surfaced over why the NFL was not able to obtain the clip before TMZ, the website that first aired it on Monday.

"If Goodell did see the video, which he says he didn't, then he should be fired," Washington Post columnist John Feinstein told Reuters. "If he didn't see the video, then he probably should be fired too - because he should have seen the video.   Continued...

September 4, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell walks the sidelines before the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports