Just hours after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted, again, that the league failed in its handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, a damning report from ESPN's "Outside The Lines" claimed the Baltimore Ravens were guilty of "purposeful misdirection" in their own handling of the matter.
In a comprehensive account of the seven-month Rice scandal built upon information from more than 20 unnamed sources, ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg reported that Baltimore Ravens director of security Darren Sanders received a complete account of Rice punching his then-fiancee in the elevator of a casino in Atlantic City, N.J., within hours of the incident taking place in February. According to the "OTL" report, Sanders was fully informed over the telephone of what transpired in the elevator by an Atlantic City police officer who was viewing the surveillance footage. Sanders reportedly then shared the information with team executives.
CLICK HERE to read full "Outside The Lines" report
When contacted by the Baltimore Sun, Sanders declined to comment on the story. In a statement, the Ravens disputed the accuracy of the "OTL" report.
— BuzzFeed Sports (@BuzzFeedSports) September 20, 2014
The explicit video from inside the elevator was not seen by the public until Sept. 8, when it was released by TMZ. At that point, the Ravens terminated Rice's contract. The NFL had levied a two-game suspension in July, but that punishment was upgraded to an indefinite ban after the elevator video was released. In his public comments on the punishment, Goodell has insisted that NFL did not have access to the elevator video until TMZ made it public and that Rice's own account of the incident had been "ambiguous." Both assertions have been called into doubt by subsequent reports from The Associated Press and ESPN.
"I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter, and I'm sorry for that," Goodell told reporters on Friday during a press conference. "But now I will get it right."
In July, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome stated publicly that he believed Goodell had gotten it right with just a two-game suspension.
“While not having Ray for the first two games is significant to our team, we respect the league’s decision and believe it is fair,” Newsome said in a statement released by the team.
According to Van Natta Jr. and Van Valkenburg, Newsome made that statement after having been told the full details of what transpired in the elevator in Atlantic City.
Shortly before "Outside The Lines" published its account of the Ravens' handling of the case, team officials may have convened an "emergency meeting" to discuss the report, according to ProFootballTalk.
"Some claim that the looming report has sparked an 'emergency meeting' in the Ravens’ front office. It’s our understanding that a meeting already had been scheduled, and that the emergence of concern regarding an upcoming report about the situation was coincidental," reported Mike Florio of PFT on Friday afternoon. "Either way, it appears that more will soon be known about the Ravens’ role in whatever did and didn’t happen, and whatever anyone knew or didn’t know about the situation."