There’s no ‘zero tolerance’ in NFL

September 19, 2014

News Editor

Ray Patterson


Current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s you-know-what is on the line – and he’s only got himself to blame. Chances are, you’ve heard the name Ray Rice recently in the media.

On Feb. 15, the Baltimore Ravens running back and his then-fiancé Janay Palmer were arrested and charged with simple assault after what Rice’s attorney described a “minor physical altercation” at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Only four days later, TMZ released footage showing Rice dragging the unconscious body of Palmer out of the elevator.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie Newsome and owner Steve Bisciotti all expressed public support for Rice, often times lauding his character and heaping praise on their star running back.

At that point, the only video we had seen is that of Rice dragging Palmer’s body out of an elevator. No one saw what happened inside the elevator — or so we thought.

On July 24, the NFL suspended Rice for two games — for aggravated assault on his wife. There was moderate public disdain and many media outlets felt that Goodell was far too lenient in his discipline.

Retractors aside, Goodell stood by his decision — for about a month, and this is where things started going south for Goodell.

A little over a month after handing down a two-game suspension, Goodell admitted he “didn’t get it right” in a letter he sent to every NFL team.

Then Sept. 8 happened, and Goodell lost every ounce of credibility he had.

TMZ, again, released yet another video. This one showed the gruesome event that took place inside the elevator — Rice punching Palmer and knocking her unconscious. That same day, after the entire world saw what actually happened, the Ravens released Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Goodell’s immediate response was that he had never seen that tape and “we asked for video, but we were never granted that opportunity.”

Two days later, citing an anonymous law enforcement official, the Associated Press reported the NFL was sent the video back in April and a voicemail from an NFL office telephone number confirmed the video was received.

Goodell now says he had “no knowledge” of ever receiving a video. Well, commissioner, to quote what you said when you suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for one year: “Ignorance is no excuse.”

Ray Patterson is a senior journalism major from New Orleans who serves as news editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to rcp022@latech.edu.


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