The Associated Press has confirmed law enforcement in Atlantic City, N.J., sent a tape containing the previously unreleased video of ex-Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiance (now his wife) in an incident this offseason.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as well as Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti have stated repeatedly they did not see the tape prior to its release Monday - a tape so shocking it quickly led to Rice's release from the only team he's played for in the NFL.
The league as well as the Ravens are currently under fire due to the handling of this case. While it seems difficult to understand how a decision to suspend a player for something they could not witness independently seems more slanted toward the league wanting to apply a broad and comprehensive suspension authority, in this case, the public backlash stemmed from the relative ease of the punishment, not the heavy-handed nature of it.
Rice was initially suspended for two games, and in defense of the punishment, Goodell said he had the information he needed to make a decision. The tape released Monday was violent enough to believe his later claims he had not seen it, but certainly raise fair and valid questions as to his credibility as well as the confidence in his leadership.
If the report from the AP is correct, this basically boils down to Goodell (and Bisciotti as well) having seen something extremely disturbing in the eyes of many, and, despite knowing the tape's existence, chose a lighter suspension for Rice. When the tape was released, he claimed on a CBS News primetime broadcast, he had not seen the tape. If that tape was in possession of the league, after Goodell said it was not and he hadn't seen it, there's little recourse here but for him to resign.
The law enforcement source for the Associated Press also provided a recording of them on a phone call with the NFL which featured a woman acknowledging the NFL received the video and saying, "you're right. It's terrible."
Roger Goodell had previously claimed that the NFL was unaware of the brutality of Rice's assault on his then-fiance; however this is also questionable as, at the time, a police report existed which described Rice's assault as: "by striking her with his hand, rendering her unconscious."
Sources told ABC News that the Baltimore Ravens knew shortly after the incident that a surveillance video existed of the assault and that Rice's defense attorney had possession of the video. Despite this, the Baltimore Ravens never asked to see the video.