NFL Commissioner Doesn't 'Rule Out' an NFL Return for Ray Rice

Roger Goodell offered his first interview on the Ray Rice situation since the running back's termination from the Baltimore Ravens.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with CBS News's Norah O'Donnell this morning about the ongoing criticism of his handling of the Ray Rice situation. Rice was recently terminated from the Baltimore Ravens after a new video emerged of him assaulting his wife earlier this year

To recap: In February, Rice and his then fiancée, Janay Palmer, are in an elevator together at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. He knocks her unconscious after a punch to the head. A video surfaces of him dragging her out of the elevator, but does not show the actual assault. In March, he is charged with felony assault (Palmer does not testify against him, and later that month they are married.) He strikes a plea deal and avoid jail time and a felony charge. In the early summer, the NFL suspends Rice for two games and comes under massive fire for the minor punishment. The commissioner then changed the NFL domestic abuse policy, upping punishments to six game suspensions for the first offense and a lifetime ban for the second. Rice's punishment, at that time, is not upped from two games.

Then this week, a video was obtained by TMZ showing what occurred inside the elevator. It shows Rice hitting Palmer and her head making harsh contact with a metal elevator rail. The video spurs the Ravens to cut Rice outright. There has been much, much deliberation over whether the NFL had access to this video before this week, and if any officials did see the complete video before making the two-game suspension decision. In his interview with O'Donnell, Goodell stressed once more that no one in the NFL had seen the video prior to it's publication by TMZ.

Goodell clarified further that they did attempt to see the video "on multiple occasions," but that NFL officials "were not granted" access to the tape. "We were told that was not something we would have access to...I understand that there may be legal restrictions on them sharing that with us. And we've heard that from attorneys general and former attorneys general."

As there was a police investigation occurring in the spring, Goodell says this prevented them from gaining access to the tape: "I think it's a fact because the criminal justice system and law enforcement were following the laws and doing what they needed to do to make sure that they followed the criminal activity."

On the other hand, Commissioner, sources within Revel have said they would've given up the tape for free, they were the ones who made a copy for the police. Rice's lawyer also had access to the tape, so it wasn't only in the hands of law enforcement. Nonetheless, Goodell stressed, "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."

The Commissioner called Rice's original two-game suspension "insufficient action." However, he does not rule out Rice returning to the NFL in the future. "I don't rule that out...He would have to make sure that we are fully confident that he is addressing this issue. Clearly, he has paid a price for the actions that he's already taken."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.