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NFL Continues to Answer Questions About Ray Rice Video – New York Times

NFL Continues to Answer Questions About Ray Rice Video – New York Times

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Ray and Janay Rice at the Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, N.J., in May. Credit Mel Evans/Associated Press

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A day after the Baltimore Ravens terminated running back Ray Rice’s contract and the N.F.L. indefinitely suspended him, the league continued to answer questions about whether it had previously seen explicit video of Rice punching and knocking out his then-fiancée in an elevator in February.

After the video was published Monday, the league suspended Rice, who was in the midst of serving a two-game suspension that he received in July. The N.F.L. said that during its investigation into the case, it had not seen the more graphic video, which was obtained by TMZ, the celebrity gossip Web site.

The league has said it initially suspended Rice for two games in part because prosecutors had dropped the felony assault charge against Rice in favor of court-supervised counseling.

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Commissioner Roger Goodell was criticized for not understanding the gravity of the case and not doing more to unearth evidence. In a statement, though, the league said Tuesday that it had requested “any and all information about the incident, including any video that may exist” from law enforcement officials and “that video was not made available to us and no one in our office saw it until yesterday.”

The league said its investigators spoke to the New Jersey State Police and “reached out multiple times” to the Atlantic City Police Department and the Atlantic County prosecutor’s office. The league added that it did not interfere in the investigation, which led to a grand jury agreeing that prosecutors should pursue felony assault charges against Rice. Those charges were later dropped in favor of court-supervised counseling.

“We cooperate with law enforcement and seek any information that can be appropriately provided,” the league said.

The N.F.L. did not specify whether it sought any information from the hotel, which captured the altercation on its security cameras.

After Goodell suspended Rice for two games in July, critics claimed he did not understand the severity of domestic violence. In August, he took the unusual step of publicly apologizing and strengthened the league’s rules. Players or league officials found to have committed domestic violence will now receive a six-game suspension.

Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, came to Goodell’s defense Tuesday.

“The way he has handled this situation himself, coming out with the mea culpa in his statement a couple of weeks ago, or 10 days ago, and setting a very clear policy of how we conduct ourselves in the N.F.L., I thought was excellent,” Kraft said on CBS This Morning. “Anyone who is second-guessing that doesn’t know him.”

Kraft added that he thought Rice would never play in the N.F.L. again. “I would be shocked if some team would pick him up,” he said.

The Ravens had not taken any public action against Rice until Monday. Coach John Harbaugh stood by Rice throughout the summer, and on Monday, he told reporters that he would be willing to help Rice and his wife if needed.

But the team continues to cut ties with him. The Ravens announced that they would offer an exchange for his jerseys at stadium stores. The Patriots did the same last year after tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder.

Nike said Tuesday it severed ties with Rice, and EA Sports said it had removed him from the Madden 15 video game.

Amidst the fallout, Janay Rice said her life has turned into a nightmare after her husband was suspended and the Ravens severed their contract with him.

“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend,” she wrote in a post on Instagram Tuesday, according to The Baltimore Sun. “But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in itself.”

Janay Rice’s Instagram account is private, but The Sun said it confirmed that her statement was intended to be public.

Janay Rice blamed the news media for her husband’s dismissal and suspension.”No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family,” Janay Rice wrote. “To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing.”

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