So much for that gag order.
Now that the two-day Ray Rice appeal hearing has ended, Don Van Natta of ESPN reports that Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome testified that Rice told Commissioner Roger Goodell in a June 16 disciplinary hearing that Rice had struck his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer.
That’s consistent with things Newsome has said publicly. In September, after the elevator video was released, Newsome said that Rice hadn’t lied to Newsome about what happened.
Van Natta also reports that the notes taken by the league and the NFLPA during the June 16 hearing conflict regarding what Rice said. The union’s version of the notes show that Rice said he struck Janay; the NFL’s version suggests ambiguity regarding what happened.
But does any of this matter? It was known that Rice had knocked out Janay Palmer in the elevator. Whether he used a closed fist, an open hand, an elbow, a forearm, or some other part of his body, he knocked . . . her . . . out.
And if there were any ambiguity at all, the NFL should have gotten the video. It could have gotten the video. It failed to get the video.
Regardless, the idea that the NFL would see any ambiguity at all in the information from Rice suggests a lack of empathy for the victim of a knockout blow. Alternatively, it’s entirely possible that the NFL is simply feigning ignorance regarding what actually happened in order to support the knee-jerk second suspension, which came only hours after the video of the incident was published.