WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama was shocked by the video showing Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee and the White House believes the NFL’s indefinite suspension of the former Baltimore Ravens star is appropriate, his chief of staff said.
“The president was shocked by what he saw, let’s put it that way,” Denis McDonough said on Sunday on the NBC program “Meet the Press.”
The Ravens released Rice, 27, on Monday after the video, published on the TMZ website, showed him punching Janay Palmer, now his wife, in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
The White House said in a statement on Monday that “hitting a woman is not something a real man does,” and “like any American, (Obama) believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society.”
A previously released video of the same incident had shown Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer from the elevator, but not the punch.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league had not seen the tape of Rice punching Palmer until it was released by TMZ. But the Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official said he had the tape delivered to league officials in April.
McDonough did not comment on how the NFL was handling the matter but said: “I think we all know that Ray Rice being suspended indefinitely seems to be exactly the right thing.”
Former FBI director Robert Mueller will lead a probe into how the NFL dealt with evidence in the case, particularly the security video from the elevator.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, said on the CBS program “Face the Nation” that if Goodell lied about when the league saw the second tape “then he has to step down because he won’t have the force of authority to change how they address these issues.”
Gillibrand is one of 16 senators calling on Goodell to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence in the league.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Andrea Ricci