NFL fights back in response to Ray Rice investigation report

BY Mike Garafolo • December 12, 2014

In response to a report suggesting the NFL contradicted itself in internal memos on whether the league asked for the complete elevator video of Ray Rice striking his wife, the league told FOX Sports in a statement its investigator made "an effort to obtain any and all information" and that the report contained "numerous inaccuracies."

Earlier this week, ESPN reported Roger Goodell's memo to owners on Sept. 10 -- in which he stated "on multiple occasions, we asked the proper law enforcement authorities to share with us all relevant information, including any video of the incident" -- didn't jibe with an email from NFL investigator Jim Buckley to the league's head of security Jeffrey B. Miller stating, "I never contacted anyone about the tape."

The NFL's statement, which was sent to FOX Sports on Friday morning, claimed Buckley never wrote that line.

"That is a quote not from an email, but from an argument by Rice's own attorney mischaracterizing the evidence," the NFL's statement read.

An NFL spokesman confirmed that argument was made during examination of Goodell as part of the Rice grievance hearing.

"The email (from Buckley to Miller) details the efforts the investigator took in an effort to obtain any and all evidence in the Rice matter," the NFL's statement read. "Those steps included contacting and seeking information from the Atlantic City Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the Atlantic City Solicitor's Office and the Atlantic County Superior Court."

The NFL goes on to explain "none of those agencies was willing to provide the League with any information or evidence beyond copies of Rice's indictment and pretrial intervention records.

"The suggestion that the league never attempted to contact anyone about the tape or that the Commissioner's September 10 memo to the owners was inaccurate is simply incorrect. In fact, the Commissioner's memorandum fully and accurately described the league's investigation, and Judge (Barbara) Jones did not find otherwise" in her ruling on the Rice grievance.

The NFL has taken a lot of heat for failing to obtain a copy of the video, which was made available to Rice and his attorney as part of the discovery process in his legal case. The league claimed its stance has always been to cooperate with law enforcement and not interfere with active investigations.

This week, with the approval of the league's new personal conduct policy, the NFL vowed to take a more aggressive approach in the future.

"Whenever the league office becomes aware of a possible violation of the personal conduct policy, it will undertake an investigation, the timing and scope of which will be based upon the particular circumstances of the matter," the policy states. "Any such investigation may be conducted by NFL security, independent parties, or by a combination of the two."

Goodell vowed the person who will be hired to oversee investigations and discipline as the league's new special counsel will have a background in law enforcement.



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