NFL hires independent investigator in Ray Rice case

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On Tuesday, we made the case for the NFL hiring an independent investigator to get to the bottom of the botched Ray Rice investigation.  On Wednesday night, after a bombshell report from the Associated Press placed a copy of the infamous elevator video inside the walls of 345 Park Avenue in April, the NFL decided to make the call for outside help.

The league has announced that former FBI director Robert Mueller will lead an independent investigation into the NFL’s handling of the Rice case.  Presumably, the investigation will be far more independent and objective than the review conducted by Mary Jo White in the bounty case.  Two years ago, White behaved as an independent advocate for the league’s hammering of the Saints, not as an independent investigator.  It’s critical that Mueller be truly and completely independent, with no agenda or directive or predetermined outcome.

It’s also critical that his results be reported publicly.  The league hid nothing regarding the bullying scandal in Miami.  The league should hide nothing here.

Hiring an independent investigator was the only viable option.  Entrusting the internal review of the Associated Press report to NFL Security made no sense, since NFL Security becomes the obvious starting point for the search for the culprit.  Also, with a slew of early retirements, resignations, and possibly even terminations likely once the dust settles, NFL Security likely has the most to lose moving forward, since that’s the department initially responsible for the multiple failures of diligence, logic, and/or common sense.

96 responses to “NFL hires independent investigator in Ray Rice case

  1. People underestimate Robert “Mule” Mueller. He’s old and grey, a bit comical looking, and comes across as plodding. But he’s stubborn and will work from dawn to dusk on a task.

  2. Terrible choice. The public is not likely to believe any “independent” investigation at this point but even less so one conducted by the former head of a shady agency.

  3. Total waste of time. The NFL can’t figure out who screwed up the investigation and figuring out the punishment ? This is just a CYA for Roger.

  4. Like everything else the League has influence over, I don’t trust the integrity of this investigation already.

  5. good now maybe you guys can stop posting 50 articles about it and get back to the people actually playing football…

  6. The NFL may have bungled the Rice case, but they clearly want to regain the public trust by making this move. Now, can we just talk about the game on the field until the independent investigation is complete??

  7. What will a independent investigation do if they destroyed any evidence of accepting the video? All they have to do is deny this ever happened. Unless they find the video, or the 2 unidentified people come forward, they will not have anything to work with.

  8. And Mueller reports up to Mara and Rooney. What a joke. Pick 2 other owners that basically don’t run the league and are fans of Goodell. How about Benson for Bounty-gate and Snyder for cap penalty?

    If Mueller finds out Goodell knew and/or saw the video, no way Mara and Rooney let that information out.

  9. The NFL has many dollars under the table. We, the people, need to keep pressure on. We need to clean house. Take a step back. This isn’t just about domestic violence. Yes, that’s what has sparked it, but now we have an opportunity. We need to revitalize our game. With Goodell et al. gone, we will be able to rebuild the foundation of our game. Remember tackling? Remember being allowed to touch QBs? We can restore the game that we intended.

  10. The guy who sells commercial paper shredders in Manhattan is going to come out of this looking pretty good, I think.

  11. This will just result in more lies and distortion as the NFL covers up everything to the “independent investigator” as well as everyone else.

    This guy is simply a tool in their attempts to cover their own rear ends.

  12. OK, now what’s his job exactly? Is he supposed to determine if the NFL got the tape and reviewed it or he gonna try to actually put his hands on the tape through the chain of custody?

    If it was received, wasn’t it signed for by someone? It seems they’re muddying the water unnecessarily. Almost like they wanna throw us off the trail. They already have the voice of a person within the walls who saw it.

    Getting an “independent investigator and NOT laying out his TASK, only serves to confuse the issues, hoping delay will diffuse a hot topic.

  13. Classify this next as one of those “Things that just couldn’t happen”. Tomorrow nite, Thurs. nite football with the Baltimore Ravens. CBS, not NFL Network, televises. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy.

  14. This is going to get interesting. You can be assured that the Ravens engaged an expensive “fixer” to minimize the expected suspension and to optimize a bad situation. Casino employees heard Rice immediately contacting the Ravens to inform them that he was going to be arrested.
    It sounds like the “fixer” was able to influence a senior NFL executive so that nobody saw the full video footage. The tape was provided by the Casino but somehow it never got seen at NFL HQ by the Commish and his team. Hmmm….
    Most likely that the “fixer” paid off the senior NFL executive who probably has a Swiss bank account to ensure that nothing can be traced.

  15. This is ridiculous. Ray Rice is guilty. Not the NFL…The NFL has zero responsibility to investigate an employees behavior when he is not at work. It is not their job, duty, or requirement to investigate their players. If they choose to do so for PR and for hiring decisions because of the dollars involved, that’s fine. That’s their choice. It is not their responsibility to society to keep tabs on their employees. It is not any employers responsibility. And for people to call for Goodell’s resignation because he didn’t do enough to investigate is ridiculous. I understand the anger. It is misdirected. Ray Rice is guilty. Roger Goodell is not. It feels like a witch hunt where somebody must be blamed. Blame Ray Rice.

  16. Patriot fans are holding their breathe on this one. We all kno if Goodell goes Billicheat is going to resign the very next or same day. And Kraft will probaboly sell the team within the week to highest bidder.

  17. When its bad to the point of the government having to get involved in a professional sports issue you know something is wrong.

    Domestic violence happens. Needs to punished accordingly and the system has its way. Get a lawyer and shut your mouth is only advice for Ray Rice.

    Fact is, domestic violence is usually a two-headed monster to the children, mother and father. Nothing worse than watching your dad or step-dad beat up your mom. The court needs to treat it like a standard case.

    However, for Roger Goodell and the NFL things are much different. He needs to step down. This is where I would like to expect and believe that the Hall of Famers will get together and approach the NFPA and Owner.

  18. I am a little more about potential terrorists retaliating against air strikes in Iraq than whether the NFL did OR did not have a video. I would rather devote their valuable time to protecting our freedoms.

    Rice doing the time under NJ law. Let the family breathe a little. Man is going have figure out how to save his money now that he will NEVER had a job related to football ever again. His Wife is forever scarred from this. His daughter is going have to deal with her family being a footnote in a history book.

    The NFL, the Ravens and Rutgers have completed eliminated this man as if he never existed. I hope they don’t take back his degree too. TRU TRU overreaction.

    When Joe Blow down the street gets a night in jail. No one complains. Doesn’t lose his job. Man got suspended for 2 games, losing hundreds of thousands of real dollars. Now suspended for life. Like Joe Blow, man needs a opportunity to have a second chance that we would all hope for similarly situated

  19. At this point Goodell needs to be on permanent leave away from the situation until this investigation is over and his contract terminated. Having him be the guy announcing the independent investigator is absurd. This has been so royally botched its become an embarrassment. He has got to go period in my opinion. If the NFL can’t send him down the road then it will be up to us fans, the players (who don’t care for him) and the media to protect this game and force him to resign. This guy is tarnished and as long as his name is mentioned from this day forward it hurts all of us who love this game. We should be hearing from Troy Vincent here on out.

  20. The important thing to remember is who is paying the bill. Just like in a criminal trial the so called “expert witness,” is being paid by a particular entity and will say whatever supports that entity.

  21. Smoke Screen. Just another PR move to help deter / persuade public opinion that they are “doing the right thing”, which of course is after the fact.

  22. So…the league hired the “independent” investigator. Doesn’t that render said investigator “not-so-independent”?

  23. Sorry, but what the hell does the FBI have to do with this? Is there some law that says the NFL had to do certain things and come to certain conclusions based on this particular circumstance? If not, then stay the hell out of it and quit being a bully. But, I realize that’s nearly impossible for this administration.

  24. The fact that the NFL has to hire an outside investigation at all is worse PR for the NFL than the actions of many of the players who Goodell has recently suspended.

  25. How can this be an independent investigation if two NFL owners are “overseeing” it? Wellington Mara has already said he thinks Goodell did the right thing by choosing not to go outside the authorities in trying to obtain the video. Unfortunately, it looks like Roger the Dodger will get the proverbial slap on the wrist and the owners will retain their kingpin.

  26. Part of what kept this story alive was the Josh Gordon situation. His season long suspension was the measuring stick everyone was using from midsummer on to voice outrage at how unfair and imbalanced the NFL was.

  27. If you were making over $3 million a month, would you be happy with a long investigation? Or would you resign for the good of the game?
    Ummm, let me guess.

  28. 2 items under “Timing is everything”. Thurs Nite Football tomorrow on CBS will acquire the highest rated viewership of the year. The Ravens are playing.

    2) Regardless of the ersatz “independent” investigator, Congress right now is looking for a distraction to Obama’s declaration of military involvement in the Middle East as announced tonite. A national sports scandal is made to order. Mr. Goodell can you pull the microphone a little closer. Thanks.

  29. The NFL are really some idiots. Let it go. The more you do this the more this story keeps on going. Didn’t Janay already say she doesn’t want that?

    Do people respect anybody’s life anymore?

  30. Who picked this guy? We need to know that!! Also the NYG owner is also involved? The guy that got the commish to fine the Skins all that money?? Doesn’t sound good and fair to me. You think NY owner isn’t going to do everything to help the commish?? Already seems flawed!!

  31. An independent investigation headed up by someone who works at a law firm with very close ties to the Ravens and the NFL, overseen by two team owners, one of whom is openly backing Goodell. Is this a joke?

  32. What an absolute waste of time, money and resources. The sports media has gotten so big, it’s been a piranha feeding frenzy. Sadly, most of the public plays right into it.

    People complain about NJ not doing enough. Ridiculous, cause 10% of the state might be in jail based on everyone’s idea of what the standard punishment should be.

    People complain about the NFL not investigating enough. Why should they? They are not law enforcement. They do not incarcerate people; just fine and/or suspend them.

    People complain about the Ravens. This is just foolish. The individual teams have always allowed the league to oversee theses types of matters, and no one has complained or bashed the teams before.

    Here’s who to blame: us as a society. These are the types of people we raise and teach to be adults. I’m happy that people are appalled, but seriously, what are any if you posting stuff online really going to do about it?

  33. 1. The “independent” Mueller works for a law firm that gets very lucrative work from Goodell’s NFL.

    2. The “independent” Mueller was selected and is being paid by Goodell’s NFL

    3. The “independent” Mueller will be overseen – why on earth does an “independent” investigator need oversight?

    4. The “independent” Mueller will be overseen by two of Goodell’s biggest supporters: Mara andRooney. Mara already has declared Goodell has done nothing wrong.

    This all adds up to an another COVER UP !!!!!!!

  34. if it didnt the hit the fan before today, heads are gonna roll after this one, looks like the ole commish is about to deal with CommishGate and this time he wont be judge, jury, and executioner

  35. I trust the truth comes out.

    I saw the punching video when the story first broke and then it disappeared until TMZ aired it.

    I have said it for the last 3 years or so, Goodell is not honest.

    He lies and “the time for honouring himself has come to an end”

    A great day indeed.

  36. “Mueller won’t find anything. Goodell burned that tape in the same fireplace where he burned the SpyGate tapes and Ray Lewis’s white tuxedo.”

    Uh, Goodell did not become the commissioner until like 6 years AFTER the Ray Lewis ordeal…

  37. We wouldn’t be talking about this if Goodell would have just taken the heat for a botched investigation when punishing Rice…..He should have announced new rules, given up some of his authority so he is not the Judge, Jury and executioner and take the hits that he deserved…instead he tried to say he didn’t have all the evidence even though we learned nothing new from watching Rice knock his wife out, we knew that already and then he threw Ray and his family under a bus to try to save his own ass…’s always the cover up that cost you you’re job……

  38. Positive conclusions ( zero wrong doing on part of the NFL!) will trigger a (quiet..under the table) 9 million dollar incentive clause in Mueller’s contract. But this information is confidential ….

  39. I feel like this is an NFL thing. All organizations from the owner on down are of the same ilk when it comes to most criminal cases. Goodell came in as the hammer giving guys more discipline for any and everything on and off the field. So why protect Rice? Why risk this outcome if you know there’s a video out there with key information? The Pats cut Hernandez before the trial. Craft says what he says about Rice but welcomes Floyd Mayweather into his suite who’s no different than Rice. Then what’s going on in Carolina and SF. If a guy is not a repeat offender and there’s no tape there would be inaction without a conviction. We had 2 tapes and stumbled at every chance we had to make this right.

  40. There is something not so independent about a “outside investigator” hired by the league and overseen by multiple owners. We can blame Goodellall we want but really he is just the owners puppet.

  41. Regardless of what the investigation finds I think it’s clear that Roger Goodell cannot be the sole NFL disciplinarian. He has been proven to be incompetent and careless in his ability to investigate incidents involving his players. The NFL needs to follow the MLB and have some type of ‘dean of discipline’ to handle matters like this. Goodell has made it obvious he has too much on his plate and needs to narrow his range of responsibilities as commissioner.

  42. As the NFL circles the wagons trying to do damage control, the calls for Goodell to step down are growing louder from OUTSIDE the NFL which means the public’s (not just NFL fans) perception of him and the situation is getting worse by the minute.

    Take a look at Google News and read some of the articles. Like the one (Google it) entitled, “Roger Goodell and NFL owe us some straight answers” by Dan Shaughnessy at the Boston Globe.

    Goodell has walked himself to the edge of the cliff and is ready to be thrown off of it by his bosses. If just 1 owner comes out and questions anything he did Goodell will be gone. Just like that.

  43. I don’t believe this guy is independent any more than I believe in the Easter Bunny. The outcome has already been spun out through lawyers and PR people and that’s what he’ll find.

  44. If the NFL wants to clear its conscience on this, they need to have the Ravens hold an anti-Ray Rice night at the stadium tonight.

    Take a page from Bill Veeck’s book. Let the Ravens fans take all their Ray Rice jerseys, Ray Rice autographed memorabilia, anything tied to Ray Rice, to the center of the field before tonight’s game, and burn it. There will be huge cheers as the fire consumes all memories that Ray Rice was ever a part of the Ravens organization, or the NFL.

    That should appease those calling for the head of the commissioner.

  45. The investigation will be swift and decisive.

    #1. Collect any and all evidence including phone records, videos, emails and text messages.
    #2. Place all info in a small box.
    #3. Place large rock in aforementioned box.
    #4. Dump box in Hudson River under the cover of night.

  46. For an investigation to be truly independent, the NFL ( ie Goodell ) cannot be the ones that do the hiring. It should be done by an outside agency such as the NFLPA or someone else not affiliated with the NFL at all!

  47. He’s not independent if he is hired, paid and overseen by owners of the organization he is investigating. Smokescreen.

  48. This is just a way for Goodell to wiggle out of not having a press conference and answering the hard questions. Now he’ll use the old, “I can’t answer anything”, with “respect to the ongoing investigation” bla bla bla until the 6-month long investigation is over and we have moved on to the next controversy. #smokescreen.

  49. I think we all know what the investigation will find:

    “Commissioner Goodell admitted that mistakes were made (notice the passive voice) in the handling of Ray Rice’s discipline.

    However, we could find no evidence that Commissioner Goodell viewed the video recording; neither could we find evidence that Commissioner Goodell was made aware that the video recording was in the possession of another NFL employee prior to initially imposing a 2 game suspension on Mr. Rice.

    In the future, we recommend that the NFL hire better support staff.

    That is all.”

  50. An investigation is NOT independent if the boss is guiding it. Mara and Rooney being involved taints this “independent” investigation. Get outside oversight and quit stalling hoping fans forget how poorly Roger has handled this. If anyone needs a refresher course in Goodell’s independent investigations they can contact anyone in New Orleans.

  51. All the money this league pays it’s commissioner(millions),plus whatever it allocates for it’s security dept.,prolly another million and yet have to hire an independent to find out what has happened is not a funny joke…it’s prolly safe to say that Mort and Peter King will be losing a source pretty soon….case closed

  52. Who gives a horse’s crap when the NFL saw the tape? Is the NFL here to protect the public and the public’s best interest? It the DA’s office that let this POS Rice skate. The NFL is the place where Rice works. Who cares really when the NFL saw the friggin tape. The spin on this seems like the NFL supercedes all authority and it is up to them to make this situation right.

    Could care less when Roger Goodell saw the tape. Even if the victim didn’t want to press charges the DA could still have brought charges. This is where the outrage should be directed not when Goodell saw the damn tape. What difference would that make in the eyes of the law?

  53. thegreatgabbert says:
    Sep 10, 2014 11:07 PM
    People underestimate Robert “Mule” Mueller. He’s old and grey, a bit comical looking, and comes across as plodding. But he’s stubborn and will work from dawn to dusk on a task.

    You’re completely ignoring the elephant in the room. That ex-FBI agent is a partner in the law firm that represents the NFL.


    Mueller works for Goodell. Yeah, I’ll believe the results.

  54. rkb555 says:
    Sep 11, 2014 10:10 AM
    How is this investigation independent when 2 of the people on the panel are nfl owners ?

    It’s worse than you think. It’s two NFL owners and an NFL lawyer (Mueller). That ex-FBI agent works for Goodell.

    The whole investigation is a sham. Goodell might as well just tell us he investigated himself and that he did nothing wrong.

  55. notthetroll says:
    Sep 11, 2014 7:58 AM
    I don’t believe this guy is independent any more than I believe in the Easter Bunny. The outcome has already been spun out through lawyers and PR people and that’s what he’ll find.


    That’s what’s so ironic about Goodells choice of the “independent investigator”. The guy chosen, by Goodell, Mueller, is a principle in the law firm used by the NFL.
    Get that? The investigator already works for Goodell.

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