In Salon, Katie McDonough asks why NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had to see the video TMZ released yesterday (showing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in an elevator) before the team cancelled his contract and the league suspended him indefinitely:
Goodell claimed that what he saw in the video was “extremely graphic” and “sickening,” which is absolutely true. But, as Amy Davidson noted at the New Yorker earlier this week, what did Goodell and the rest of the NFL think it looked like when a football player knocked out a woman?
The release of that footage (without Janay Rice’s consent and at her expense) didn’t change a thing about what the NFL knew. Goodell had a police report that said Rice hit Janay with his hand, “rendering her unconscious.” And a grand jury indicted Rice in March for third degree aggravated assault, which in New Jersey is defined as acting with the intent to cause “bodily injury.” And Goodell admitted that he had seen the footage outside the elevator, which clearly shows Rice dragging Janay’s limp body like a sack of potatoes.
The video of what happened inside that elevator makes it clear that the assault was brutal, but was there any other conclusion that Goodell could have come to? “There are not that many different ways in which two people can get on an elevator, only to have one exit unconscious,” Zerlina Maxwell wrote earlier this week, responding to this same point. The video changes nothing.
The interview [with Norah O’Donnell of ‘”CBS This Morning”] doesn’t change anything, either. It has long been clear that the NFL is indifferent to violence against women. This incident was just too much of a media headache to ignore, so the NFL acted — belatedly, inadequately, cynically.