Today the NFL proved that it is not completely divorced from reality by resolving a crisis it could no longer deny when a video of Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancee unconscious during an argument in a hotel elevator surfaced on TMZ.
We never thought that TMZ, of all places, would teach one of America’s most successful organizations to better monitor its own ethical compass. Stranger things have happened, we suppose…
The NFL’s SVP of comms Greg Aiello explained things to CNN:
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
Keep in mind that the previous video did show Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee from the elevator. As our own Shawn Paul Wood wrote when the first video broke: “If Ray Rice has PR, fire that agency immediately“. Rice’s initial statement included this gem:
“I wouldn’t call myself a failure because failure is not getting knocked down. It’s not getting up.”
No more. Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to issue an official response, but we’ll call it forthcoming. Statement from Aiello:
Roger Goodell has announced that based on new video evidence that became available today he has indefinitely suspended Ray Rice.
— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) September 8, 2014
Again, to frame the problem: the league initially suspended Rice for two games, relenting only when new footage came to light. Josh Gordon of the Browns, on the other hand, received a one-year suspension after testing positive for marijuana (it was his second positive test, but come on).
Do we really need further evidence that the league has some seriously skewed priorities? Another “we need to do better” letter from Goodell probably isn’t going to cut it.