When the horrific video of Ray Rice hitting his now-wife Janay Palmer broke onto the internet on Monday NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the Baltimore Ravens acted quickly and decisively to contain the fallout.
In many ways it was closing the stable door after the horse had bolted but at least the NFL was now dealing with the issue as it should have.
Running back Ray Rice was indefinitely suspended from the NFL and his multi-million dollar contract with the Baltimore Ravens was terminated. It seemed that Goodell wanted to send a message that the NFL was against violence to women and wanted to answer the justifiable criticism the NFL took for Rice's original two game ban.
Sensational new allegations have emerged though that NFL executives had in fact seen the video of Ray Rice assualting his now-wife much earlier than they had previously admitted.
When did NFL executives see the video?
The key question of course was when had the NFL first seen the video. Roger Goodell was explicitly clear in a letter to NFL owners stating "we did not see video of what took place inside the elevator until it was publicly released on Monday". He then went further writing "on multiple occasions" the NFL asked to see the video but authorities refused to release it.
Goodell's comments were later backed up by the New Jersey Attorney General's office who stated it would have been illegal for the video to be passed on to the NFL whilst the matter was before a Grand Jury.
Now though, allegations are surfacing that law enforcement officials sent a copy of the video to NFL executives in April. That would be several weeks before the NFL states it did in fact see the video.
If this is the case then Roger Goodell's rationale for acting both with the initial two game suspension of Ray Rice and the later indefinite suspension will be fatally undermined.
The NFL will have been exposed as not actually caring about domestic abuse - and in reality only being concerned about the negative media publicity that the release of the video caused when the public saw it.
As of now the NFL is strenuously denying that they did see the video in April. Releasing a statement earlier today the NFL said: "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. We will look into it."
Change is needed
If it does transpire that the NFL attempted to cover up when they saw the video then Roger Goodell must leave his role as the league's commissioner. He will have proven himself unable to create the NFL that football fans deserve.
He will have been in charge of an organisation where someone in power saw the video of Ray Rice viciously punching a woman and decided that it wasn't important enough to be taken into consideration when punishment was handed down.
At a minimum then Goodell will have been revealed to be grossly incompetent and unqualified for his role. In a worse case scenario he will have been shown to think that domestic abuse is not that serious. In either case Goodell's position will have become untenable.
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