NFL Commission Roger Goodell claims the league had not seen the footage of Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée (now wife) in an Atlantic City casino elevator until Monday.
In an exclusive with CBS News, Goodell said that demanding the February surveillance footage from the now-shuttered Revel casino “would have been illegal.”
Revel says it handed over the tape to Rice’s attorney, but the NFL never asked to see it.
Goodell claimed that police wouldn’t hand over the video to the NFL.
"On multiple occasions we asked for it and on multiple occasions we were told no," he said. "When we make a decision we want to have all the information that's available.”
When asked why TMZ could obtain footage from inside the elevator, but a multi-billion dollar organization could not, Goodell said that’s because the league is more lawful.
“Well, I don't know how TMZ or any other website gets their information,” he said. “We are particularly reliant on law enforcement. That's the most reliable. It's the most credible. And we don't seek to get that information from sources that are not credible.
"Well, we certainly didn't know what was on the tape,” he added. “But we have been very open and honest. And I have also -- from two weeks ago when I acknowledged it, we didn't get this right.”
The league was aware of footage released in May that showed Rice, 27, pulling his unconscious then-fiancée Janay Palmer out of the elevator. Rice was allowed to continue playing for the Baltimore Ravens. He was issued a two-game ban and a $500,000 fine in July.
“I am used to the criticism, I am used to that, every day I have to earn my stripes,” Goodell said.
After the second video was released, Rice was suspended from the NFL and cut from the Ravens.
Charged with aggravated assault in March, Rice was allowed to enter a New Jersey pretrial intervention program, avoiding jail time.
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is now asking Acting Attorney General John Hoffman to review the legal decision by the Atlantic County prosecutor to not pursue a case against Rice.
“This video and the violence it shows is extremely disturbing,” Sweeney said in a statement. “It is a vivid reminder that domestic violence is a serious problem that can’t be ignored and shouldn’t be treated lightly.
“I am asking Acting Attorney General John Hoffman to review the decision-making process that allowed for Pre-Trial Intervention and to look at the law itself to see if it should be re-written or revised,” he added. “This should include a review of who qualifies for PTI and when it is allowed.”
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