In response to the claim from TMZ that the NFL didn’t request from the casino the video captured of the blow to the head that knocked out Ray Rice’s then-fiancée, the NFL doesn’t directly say whether it requested the video from the casino.
But the obvious implication is that the league didn’t directly ask for the video from the casino, from Rice, or from anyone other than the law enforcement agency handling the case.
“Security for Atlantic City casinos is handled by the New Jersey State Police,” the NFL said in a statement released to PFT. “Any videos related to an ongoing criminal investigation are held in the custody of the state police. As we said yesterday: We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us.”
While the fact that Rice was suspended only two games continues to be the best evidence that the NFL didn’t actually see the video, the latest statement from the league confirms that the persons with the job duties of gathering the information on behalf of the league failed.
Regardless of whether TMZ’s claim that the casino would have potentially jeopardized its broader business interests by gladly handing over evidence that could be used against a patron by his employer, the league’s statement implies that the request indeed wasn’t made. It also confirms that the league — and the Ravens — didn’t try to get the tape from Rice, whose lawyer had a copy of it as part of the criminal investigation.
As the 40-year-old saying goes, the coverup is worse than the crime. While no coverup in this specific case would be worse than the underlying crime committed by Ray Rice, the league seems to be sliding into the same echo chamber that produced clumsy, awkward defenses of the initial Rice suspension. If/when the league wakes up this time around, the end result could be consequences far more tangible than a memo in which the Commissioner admits that the league got it wrong.