The Internet is abuzz this morning after TMZ posted the video of Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City elevator from earlier this summer. The NFL is claiming that no one with the league saw this video before suspending Rice for two games, and claimed that law enforcement didn’t make the video available to them.

That’s all well and good – except that statement has been contradicted by established reporters.

Back in July, Peter King (one of the most connected writers across the league) reported that the league did in fact see the elevator video before rendering their punishment towards Rice. From his MMQB column on July 29th (emphasis mine)…

There is one other thing I did not write or refer to, and that is the other videotape the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen, from the security camera inside the elevator at the time of the physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée.

Either the NFL is lying today about not seeing the video in an attempt to save face, or Roger Goodell and company are more incompetent than any of us could have imagined. ESPN’s Jane McManus also said the league had access to the tape.

If you do believe the NFL’s stance in this case, you also have to believe that it’s investigation was just outdone by TMZ. Either way, it’s a terrible look for the league. (For what it’s worth, it’s apparent Jay Glazer initially reported the league never saw the tape.)

As bad as a PR disaster has been for the NFL, this situation now where conflicting reports are emerging about who knew what and when is making it even more of a mess.

For as shocking as it was to see Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee out of the elevator, it’s somehow more shocking, more vile, and more enraging to see him punch her in the face before she falls to the ground, hitting her head on the elevator handrail in the process.

Quite frankly, this should be the end of the line for both Ray Rice and Roger Goodell. One man committed an act more violent and stomach-wrenching than any of us could have imagined, and the other was either oblivious and incompetent or callous and short-sighted.

ED UPDATE: King has released a statement of his own at The MMQB. And if you weren’t confused before, you sure will be now. King says that he talked to a source and “assumed” the NFL had seen the tape

Earlier this summer a source I trusted told me he assumed the NFL had seen the damaging video that was released by TMZ on Monday morning of Rice slugging his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City elevator. The source said league officials had to have seen it. This source has been impeccable, and I believed the information. So I wrote that the league had seen the tape. I should have called the NFL for a comment, a lapse in reporting on my part. The league says it has not seen the tape, and I cannot refute that with certainty. No one from the league has ever knocked down my report to me, and so I was surprised to see the claim today that league officials have not seen the tape.

I hope when this story is fully vetted, we all get the truth and nothing but the truth.

Unbelievable. Isn’t it Peter King’s job to vet his own reports? How did he make the jump to publish that the league had seen the tape on a mere assumption? Why did the league not come out and deny King’s initial report when he published they had seen the tape? How are we left with so many questions?

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.

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