Report: Goodell went light on initial Rice punishment out of respect for Rice’s wife

AP

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with former Ravens running back Ray Rice before initially suspending him for two games, Rice’s wife Janay was also in attendance.

During that meeting, she told Goodell that she believed she was partially to blame for being punched in the face and knocked unconscious inside an elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. According to a report from Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal, Goodell then went on to give Rice the nearly universally reviled penalty out of respect for his wife.

Clark reports that an NFL owner said that Goodell told him and other owners that he felt a harsher penalty would have been “insensitive” to Mrs. Rice “because it would have come across as an indictment of her character.” That owner and another source told Clark that they believed the lack of thoroughness “reflected Goodell’s discomfort” with making a decision that didn’t fit with her description of the events. The NFL and the Rices declined opportunity to comment.

According to the owner, Goodell also told him that he believed Mrs. Rice fell during a scuffle between the couple and became unconscious as a result. That’s in direct opposition to the police report from the incident, which is very different than Goodell’s statements that the work of law enforcement was the league’s guide in how to approach the issue.

It’s unknown if the unnamed owner’s goal was to make Goodell seem more sympathetic, but the report, if true, doesn’t do that. It serves to blame the victim not only for being abused, but for the league’s failure to do a complete investigation of what happened that night. And it provides further evidence that the league erred in a major way by interviewing the alleged victim of abuse next to her alleged abuser and his employers in the first place.

74 responses to “Report: Goodell went light on initial Rice punishment out of respect for Rice’s wife

  1. Wait a minute. He didn’t go “light” on my man(Josh Gordon) out of respect for me. Why is my man facing harsher punishment?

    Regards,
    Mary Jane

  2. It’s interesting how much compassion Goodell professes when it’s in his best interests – and how little he shows in regards to the players he fines and/or suspends.

    It’s just as interesting how Goodell lacks any sympathy or understanding when others claim they were unaware — yet Goodell is now claiming he should be exonerated because he “did not know.” I guess that “ignorance is no excuse” is the one-way street of the hypocrite.

  3. THAT is exactly what I said happened from the beginning. It may not make him seem “more sympathetic” to you, but most people are more intelligent and sensitive to the human condition. They just don’t show up on football message boards.

  4. There is no winners, so stop trying find the losers. We are ALL losers in the world of domestic violence, we all know we could have done more, should have done something. Even the NOW leader, she could have done more for her cause, and if you were to pick through her life she’s far from perfect.

  5. People in glass houses. What is NBC’s policy on DUI, abuse, drugs etc. Do they fine employees, let them still broadcast? Whats the deal Florio- what is NBC’s policy? You and your team should rip journalistic organizations as much as you rip the nfl.

    Corporations are not responsible for administering justice. If they are, maybe you and your team can clean up the nbc house first

  6. More BS. I don’t believe any propaganda about Goodell. He had no problem suspending Roethlisberger 6 games for an allegation. There was no proof or evidence. This guy is a cancer to the NFL. The owners need to listen to the players and fans and fire him immediately.

  7. We rendered our verdict out of respect for the victims and the never ending search for the real killers.

    Regards,
    The OJ Jury

  8. So she is sitting next to Ray while being questioned…..? Com’on Roger, 2 slow blinks with both eyes is a sign universally known as “I am a captive….dont believe a word I say”.

  9. People can make fun of this excuse all they want, but it is the absolute only possible logical explanation for only a two game suspension. I really do think that he took her wishes into account and felt like a punishment against Ray, would in some twisted form be a punishment on her according to her own wishes. She was the victim in this case and he was going with what she wants.

    Does anyone have any other plausible reason that he only went to a two game suspension? I would love to hear it. People shout out conspiracy All they want, but I can assure you that the Baltimore Ravens did not pay him $10 million for a light suspension. So if it’s not because he was paid off, and it’s not because of his wife’s wishes, then what exactly was his reasoning for it? I would love to hear it

  10. This is the dumbest thing I have read yet about the NFL. First, it is nearly universally known that often domestic violence victims blame themselves. Second, she was knocked unconscious and had to be dragged out of the elevator. And third, so Goodell took the time to speak with the victim but not to try to see if there was video tape of an incident that took place in a casino, one of the most highly monitored places you can be?

  11. When are the suits going to figure out that every time they open their mouths on this matter, they make themselves look worse?

  12. Sure didn’t have much compassion for Payton’s family when he suspended him for a year which reportedly cost him $8 mil.

  13. Sure, that’s why he did it. Jim Irsay getting in trouble at the same time had nothing to do with it because we all know Roger Goodell cares about what your wife or kids say. His past actions support this. [snark]

  14. So how does the video (going public, not the video itself since it’s pretty obvious NFL had it) changer his “respect”?

  15. My question is why did he go so light with punishment on Spygate? Destroying the evidence the nanosecond you receive it in secret behind closed doors with zero transparency is actually less than a slap on the wrist.

    You know, nasty little fellows such as yourself always get their comeuppance. — Evelyn in “The Mummy”

  16. I believe that he was talked into a light punishment because a teary eyed victim/new spouse begged for her financial supporter not to be punished, as it would ultimately trickle down to her. He was trying to be the nice guy, for a change.

    And sir, Mr. Goddell, you put this lady before ‘the shield.’ You didn’t act in the best interest of the league. And for that act alone you should be fired. Now.

    But ultimately, it will prove that you are trying to cover up your mistake and that is what will get you fired. Thankfully.

  17. The number one rule in any domestic violence case is to never NEVER have the victim and the abuser in the same room at the same time to discuss the case. Domestic violence victims often will do anything in front of their abuser to try and ‘defuse’ the situation up to and including taking the blame for the case, trying to protect their abuser and generally trying to do everything possible to end the situation without causing waves (and perhaps future beatings).

    Goodell had Janay Rice speak out not only in front of her abuser, but in front of 5 other people whose vested interest was in her abuser, not her, as well as a gaggle of media who we have already seen do nothing but suck at the proverbial teat of their NFL masters.

    Whether or not Goodell had the best interests of anyone in mind, it has to be said that he did so out of total ignorance. Nothing that has been said has done anything to diminish the impression of Goodell being either incompetent, willfully ignorant, or both.

  18. The courts didn’t do much about it either, should be people going after them..if the courts dontdo anything about it then why should we look to the nfl to discipline them..and really ray rice is an employee of the ravens..i would hold them more accountable than the nfl itself..and if the victims would jist tell the truth it would make everything alot easier to figure out..if they play it off as it was nothing then thats what you got to go with without proof

  19. My big issue with this is that if Goodell was trying to lessen the punishment out of respect for her, why change the punishment now? The video hasn’t changed her feelings toward Ray and the league suspending him indefinitely now only hurts her as much as it hurts Ray. One commentator said that she is finally getting the justice she deserves…how exactly? By taking away what is rightfully half of her future income. I’m not saying he shouldn’t receive the punishment he ultimately got, but I hope I never get justice like that.

  20. Since the charges were basically boiled down to jaywalking, and mitigated by intervention, why would the initial police report be taken at face value?

    Seriously, people, we need to dial down the moral outrage that is non-existent when the same thing happens hundreds or thousands of times per day all over the country. Why should the NFL be held to a different standard than the rest of society?
    Because we can all act high and mighty and judge the big, bad NFL now? In 2 weeks, this too shall pass, and we will be onto the next moral crisis…

  21. Too bad the liberal media doesn’t “keep digging” on all the harm Obama is doing to this country…instead they just stop reporting on it when they realize that something could hurt “their guy”.

  22. Why do you keep saying “alleged” abuser? We’re beyond that now. There is no binding legal case. We’ve all seen the evidence. Ray Rice is the abuser.

  23. Wikipedia:
    Internet Pitchfork Mob
    The internet version of a torch and pitchfork mob. A group of angry people raging about a problem that rapidly gains supporters, taking over topics, comment sections and product reviews with rage posts. Tramples anyone who doesn’t agree mercilessly.

    Commonly occurs in response to controversial topics or unpopular actions by corporations and/or the government.
    ie. The game’s been broken for two days and there’s an Internet Pitchfork Mob on the forums and in the amazon reviews!

    ————————————————————-

    Ray Rice is the criminal. Roger Goodell, at worst, used bad judgement in the punishment of a player. The same player the justice system did not punish, his wife did not hold accountable….etc.

  24. Like greatgabbert and truthfactory, I’ve been saying the same things for 3 days now.

    On Monday when the story broke, Janay was on FB saying to everyone, “This is our life! What part of that don’t you get?”

    I believe she said the same thing to the Ravens and the NFL. She didn’t want her husband’s gravy train to stop rolling for an altercation she had some liability in (do NOT interpret that as Ray had the right to hit her, he did not).

    Janay convinced Goodell (and the Ravens) to back down. If you want to say he was at fault for that, you have sound logic to back you up. I say he mistakenly thought that taking the victim’s account into his decision was a proper move. In hindsight, it clearly wasn’t. I’m not a Goodell fan, but I don’t think him mistakenly deferring to Janay’s wishes should cost him his job.

    Now, it needs to be said in a LOUD voice that victims who want to clear their attackers will NO LONGER BE LISTENED TO. That said, you still can’t force them to press charges or testify.

  25. THAT is exactly what I said happened from the beginning. It may not make him seem “more sympathetic” to you, but most people are more intelligent and sensitive to the human condition. They just don’t show up on football message boards.

    ——————-

    Yeah, because Goodell has a history of being “sensitive to the human condition”. I guess that’s why he disciplines players and coaches with ridiculously inconsistent suspensions/fines via open letters so he can publicly dress them down.

    Ignorance is not an excuse.

  26. It serves to blame the victim not only for being abused,
    ——————————–

    Assuming this is the truth, I will just ask. . .Why? Because he treated her like an adult human being and took her at her word? Because he refused to infantilize her and tell her to shut up and get in a corner like the rest of the media has?

    I understand that her behavior is a bit suspect due to her circumstances but I’m not gonna fault the guy for listening to her side of the story and thinking he was showing some compassion.

    For the rest, I’ll wait for the outcome of the investigation.

  27. in the eyes of the law, a first time offender of simple battery doesn’t do jail time, its almost always probation or a diversionary program

    i know it sounds great to say how bad domestic violence is, but the fact of the matter is DV incidents are down, and have been over the past 20 years along with most other violent crimes. Yes its terrible, but it isn’t some sort of epidemic going on in america.

    and to act like women don’t deserve fault in many of the DV incidents is ignorant at best. Women want equality well now they get it, just because your female it doesn’t give you the right to be violent against other people without fear of retaliation

  28. drtharrison said:

    “I believe that he was talked into a light punishment because a teary eyed victim/new spouse begged for her financial supporter not to be punished, as it would ultimately trickle down to her. He was trying to be the nice guy, for a change.

    And sir, Mr. Goddell, you put this lady before ‘the shield.’ You didn’t act in the best interest of the league. And for that act alone you should be fired. Now.”

    100% correct. Best comment I’ve read so far. While I still wouldn’t fire him, there’s no doubt he put Janay’s request before the Shield. Humanitarian reasons? Sure. Bad business move? Obviously – look at the mess that has ensued!

  29. More excuses from this clown. You supposedly owned up once, so own up now and tell the whole truth. You’d be more respected if you do.

  30. Wow…Roger really said that?

    He betrays himself as truly ignorant with this statement.

    I have never thought highly of him as a commissioner, but this even surprises me (although I guess it shouldn’t).

    He’s a freaking dinosaur.

  31. I think the book will be called, “Cracks in the Shield: Roger Goddell, Ray Rice, and Domestic Violence in the NFL.”

  32. Everyone was crying about players getting harsh discipline compared to owners when Irsay got popped. Goodell looked at Rice and his wife and decided to give the man an opportunity to redeem himself. A week later everyone becomes concerned with domestic abuse. Who would have guessed that would happen?

    If Goodell started lowering the hammer on guys in a couple of months you clowns would be crying again that he is being too harsh. Make up your minds.

  33. Btw, supposedly punishment for players is to “protect the shield.” So what this has to do with compassion for his wife, as laughable as that sounds anyway, is beyond me. Spin, spin away Roger.

  34. Mrs. Ray Rice could do Goodell and her husband a big favor by holding a press conference and taking heat off of commish. Goodell would remember this when Rice applies for reinstatement.

  35. The only “victim” of Josh Gordon’s weed smoking is Josh Gordon. How about giving him a lighter punishment out of respect to the victim?

  36. This is actually why prosecutors hate to prosecute domestic violence cases. It is hard to go for a stiff punishment when the victim isn’t on board.

    It doesn’t surprise me why Goodell would do this, it happens all the time in the justice system.

  37. The only “victim” of Josh Gordon’s weed smoking is Josh Gordon. How about giving him a lighter punishment out of respect to the victim?
    —-
    Because it is against the rules and this is his fourth failed drug test. Any more questions?

  38. The problem I have is Goodell’s free reign to impose penalties as he wants with no regard to the rules. He used every resource available when he went after the Saints. The player suspensions were later overturned by his predecessor but the team still forfeited draft picks & lost their coach for the year bc he should have known what was going on his locker room. Now Goodell is allowed to suspend Rice indefinitely even though he just changed the rules to 6 games for a first offense. I’m not defending Rice, I’m just wondering why Goodell suspended Rice longer than the rule states. The video did not show snything that was not already known. Ozzie Newsome was present in Rices meeting with Goodell & said he told the truth about what happened. Goodell at worst needs to be removed from disciplining players or teams in future & also a multi million dollar fine going to women’s shelters bc as he so eloquently stated “ignorance is no excuse.”

  39. Sounds to me like Goodell, haroldoftherocks, thegreatgabbert, truthfactory, gadgetdog, etc, need a lesson in the psychology of the battered spouse/partner.

    It is completely typical for a battered woman to be her attackers biggest ally. This is how they cope, how they survive, how they attempt to escape further beatings.

    The second Janay Rice attempted to take some of the blame for this incident, Goodell should have made it clear that short of her pulling a gun or knife on him, he would not assign any portion of the blame to her.

    And as many have said before, he never, ever, should have interviewed her in Ray Rice’s presence.

    Every day, battered women face tremendous pressure from their attackers, family members, and even the public to “stop making such a big deal of this”. Enough is enough.

  40. “It doesn’t surprise me why Goodell would do this, it happens all the time in the justice system.”

    And it happened in this case too. Janay refused to cooperate with AC police and the D.A.

    I think that’s why they sent the video to the league office. They were upset that they got screwed out of an easy high-profile conviction. They didn’t want Ray Ray getting off so easy, so they made sure Park Ave received that video.

  41. “And it happened in this case too. Janay refused to cooperate with AC police and the D.A.

    I think that’s why they sent the video to the league office. They were upset that they got screwed out of an easy high-profile conviction. They didn’t want Ray Ray getting off so easy, so they made sure Park Ave received that video.”

    Yup, I am no fan of Goodell…..but this is a hard spot to be put in.

  42. I don’t see anyway this comes to any conclusion other than Goodell is too incompetent to be trusted running the NFL.

  43. Keep making all the excuses you want for Ginger about why he did what he did and the utter hypocrisy of saying just because the DA didn’t press any charges when you probably cheer him every time he drops the hammer on players who haven’t been charged with anything, it doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Protect the Shield has now been caught in multiple lies about an investigation he incompetently botched.

    Goodell lied. Goodell is still lying. Goodell will keep lying until he’s finally thrown out. He’s directly damaged the shield in the past (his lies in Congressional hearings about concussions.) He’s damaging the shield every minute he stays employed. No amount of reputation repair and none of his feeble attempts to take the heat off himself and throw it on the Rices’ will change the fact that he’s lying.

    Either turn in your Resignation or get your pink slip. What was it you told the Saints, ignorance is no excuse? Well then, by your own standards you’ve got no excuse. Buh-bye, forget to write.

  44. Completely transparent attempt to sway public opinion by appearing sympathetic to the victim. Ginger is calling in some favors on this one. This man deserves what he’s getting. He’s been on a huge ego/power trip for years now with his authoritarian meting out of discipline, often times despite any real evidence or fairness whatsoever. It’s a truly wonderful thing to see his image, reputation, and standing utterly (and publicly) in ruin. It’s exactly what he deserves. I’m enjoying every second of it.

  45. This is why they say you have a right to remain silent and that anything you say can and will be used against you. Every time Goodell says something additional, it gets spun back around against him! Isn’t he a lawyer? Shouldn’t he know better?

  46. Damn, I wish I has the fire extinguisher contract with the NFL. With all the pants that have been on fire of late, I would be able to retire in no time at all.

  47. I don’t think the Saints’ transgressions and the Ray Rice ones are even apples to oranges, more like apples to jars of coins or manual staplers. Saints fans keep bringing this up because Goodell said “Ignorance is no excuse,” which they are correct to do. But equating the treatment of the offender is missing the point. What the Saints did was all football, so they got punished all football, what Rice did was no football.

  48. Lamest excuse by Goodell yet

    Rice got $25 million guaranteed. He’s not a blue collar worker who’s lost job will punish the beaten wife.

    Heck – she should file a restraining order, divorce him, take half and be safe. If she doesn’t understand this someone needs to help her

    Goodell-gate#

  49. “Because it is against the rules and this is his fourth failed drug test. Any more questions?”
    =============================

    Yeah, so what?

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