TMZ's Levin: NFL Knew About Ray Rice Punch Video, 'Turned a Blind Eye'
TMZ founder Harvey Levin is accusing the NFL of "turning a blind eye" to the vicious domestic assault by former Ravens star Ray Rice. He says he has proof that the NFL has been aware of the surveillance video that came out via his website yesterday.
The ugly footage shows Rice punching his then-fiance Janay Palmer in the face in an elevator during an argument. In an earlier video, Rice was caught on surveillance footage dragging the unconscious Palmer out of the elevator.
Levin says he has received "conflicting stories" on whether anyone from the NFL actually saw the punch video, but says he "knows" that the league knew of the tape's existence.
Many observers are also questioning how the NFL could not have seen the elevator video if TMZ could get it.
Sally Jenkins wrote in the Washington Post this morning:
"The NFL claims in a statement that no one in the league office had previously seen the tape. That is almost surely not the truth, unless the NFL wanted it that way. This is a league that works with Homeland Security, confers with the Drug Enforcement Agency, collaborates with law enforcement and has its own highly equipped and secretive private security arm. You’re telling me it couldn’t get a hold of a grainy tape from an Atlantic City casino elevator? But TMZ could?"
Fellow WaPo columnist Mike Wise called for Goodell to step down:
Under Goodell, the NFL has lost its moral direction.
This country has provided the NFL and its franchises untold billions in public funding, untold billions in federal regulatory protection, and for that, Goodell’s league has a responsibility to be of value to the public — to not merely provide the entertainment value modern-day gladiators bring, but also social value.
And on this front, time after time, it has failed. If this were a democracy, Goodell would be voted out of office.
It’s beyond comprehension how the NFL fumbled this so badly.
Ray Rice’s NFL career may be done because of what we knew way back in February and unfortunately were able to see Monday.
But we also found out something else these past few months: Roger Goodell is not a leader of men. He’s an overpaid, tone-deaf functionary whose power now needs to be checked. He needs to go too.
On America's Newsroom this morning, Jonathan Hunt reported that there is a longer video that has been seen by AP, which is said to include the audio of Rice and Janay Palmer yelling obscenities and Palmer spitting in Rice's face before the punch.
The Baltimore Ravens released Rice on Monday, also saying that their position changed when they saw the new video. The NFL then suspended Rice indefinitely.
Janay Rice has now responded, lashing out at the media.
"I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it's reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted [opinions] from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don't you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!"