In a memorandum sent to NFL owners on Wednesday, commissioner Roger Goodell said the league did not “directly” request surveillance footage from the Atlantic City hotel in which ex-Ravens tailback Ray Rice struck his now-wife in an elevator in February.
In the memo, which was posted on NFL.com on Wednesday, Goodell said the league’s “understanding of New Jersey law is that the casino is prohibited from turning over material to a third party during a law enforcement proceeding, and that doing so would have subjected individuals to prosecution for interference with a criminal investigation.”
Goodell continued: “Moreover, our longstanding policy in matters like this — where there is a criminal investigation being directed by law enforcement and prosecutors – is to cooperate with law enforcement and take no action to interfere with the criminal justice system. In addition, in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation, information obtained outside of law enforcement that has not been tested by prosecutors or by the court system is not necessarily a reliable basis for imposing league discipline.”
Goodell’s admission that the league did not reach out to the now-closed Revel Casino Hotel seems to validate a Tuesday TMZ report citing unnamed Revel-connected sources that claimed the hotel never received an inquiry from the NFL on getting video footage of Rice’s altercation with Janay Palmer. It also answers one of the unanswered questions from Goodell’s Tuesday interview with CBS, as well as one with USA Today.
In the memo, Goodell again said the league did not see the video of Rice striking Palmer in the elevator until Monday, when it was released by TMZ. Goodell also said the league “asked the proper law enforcement authorities to share with us all relevant information, including any video of the incident.”
Goodell concluded the memo by telling owners the league was changing for the better with regard to its policies on discipline for sexual assault and domestic violence.
“I believe that we took a significant step forward with the enhanced policies on domestic violence and sexual assault that were announced last month,” Goodell wrote. “I also know that we will be judged on our actions going forward. I am confident that those actions will demonstrate our commitment to address this issue seriously and effectively, and will reflect well on the NFL, all member clubs, and everyone who is a part of our league.”