The NFL has released a statement saying that the FBI will conduct an investigation into how the NFL handled evidence, as it investigated domestic violence claims against former Ravens player Ray Rice. The investigation will be lead by former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement on Wednesday that the investigation will be overseen by NFL owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A video showing NFL star Ray Rice brutally punching his then fiancé Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator leaked earlier this week.
Before the FBI stepped in, the NFL said it will investigate a report that claims that one of its executives was sent a video footage, by an unnamed law enforcement agent.
The video appears to show former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer. The punch caused Palmer to faint, and Rice can be seen in the video, dragging her out of the elevator.
When asked about the report which claimed that someone in the NFL knew about the video, due to a 12-second voicemail from April 9th that was posted online, their spokesman Brian McCarthy said that they knew nothing of this. “We have no knowledge of this,” he said. “We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it.” A woman’s voice can be heard in the voicemail, saying “You’re right. It’s terrible.”
The unnamed law enforcement agent was unauthorized to release the video, and according to a report, “he did not talk to any other NFL employees and he cannot confirm that anyone watched the video.”
A statement was sent out to all 32 club owners and chief executives. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the NFL asked law enforcement for any video, but not the casino itself: “On multiple occasions, we asked the proper law enforcement authorities to share with us all relevant information, including any video of the incident. We did not ask the Atlantic City casino directly for the video.”
Ray Rice’s wife, Janay, has since defended him on social media, saying: “To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels.”