Probe finds NFL didn't see Rice video, fumbled investigation

Thu Jan 8, 2015 6:10pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - An independent probe has found no evidence that anyone at the NFL possessed or saw the surveillance video of running back Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee last year but said the league failed to properly investigate the case.

The investigation, led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, concluded the league "should have done more with the information it had."

The report faults the NFL for yielding to law enforcement in Rice's case and not pushing for more evidence. But it does not place blame on embattled league commissioner Roger Goodell, who has absorbed the brunt of public criticism.

"We found no evidence that anyone at the NFL had or saw the in-elevator video before it was publicly shown," said a release summarizing the findings of the fourth-month probe.

Mueller's report recommended that the NFL establish a special domestic violence and sexual assault investigative team and adopt guidelines for investigations.

The Rice incident, along with a spate of domestic abuse cases among players including Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson, brought down a firestorm of public criticism on the most popular U.S. sports league as it sought to woo female fans, a key growth area.

"We have all learned a great deal in the past months and expect to be judged by how we lead going forward on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault," Goodell said in a statement.

Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games for punching Janay Palmer, who fell unconscious in an elevator during an argument at an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino in February last year.   Continued...

Former Baltimore Ravens NFL running back Ray Rice arrives for a hearing at a New York City office building November 6, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid