In an interview that aired Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell sat down with Roger Goodell and asked him many of the questions that people across America have been wondering.
Namely, did Goodell see the video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee before TMZ released it Monday?
“I did ask him that,” O’Donnell said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “This is commissioner Roger Goodell’s first interview since that tape was released, and he was adamant that no one inside the NFL saw this tape before Monday. And I said, ‘You know, there are some people that just don’t buy that.’ And he said ‘Well, it’s a fact.’ He said no one in the NFL, to his knowledge, had seen the tape. He said they had requested it on multiple occasions from law enforcement.”
According to Goodell, law enforcement did not comply. So how is it that the NFL couldn’t get access to the video but TMZ could?
“He said, ‘Look, we rely on law enforcement,’” O’Donnell recalled. “‘That’s credible. I don’t know how TMZ and other websites get their information.’”
TMZ has said Goodell was woefully ignorant throughout this entire process.
“A lot of critics of commissioner Goodell said maybe Goodell didn’t want to see what was on this video tape,” O’Donnell explained. “He told me that absolutely he would have wanted to know what was on this tape. He said if they did know what was on this tape, it would have changed his initial decision to suspend Ray Rice for just two games – meaning Ray Rice would’ve been on the field next week.”
“(Goodell) called the video sickening,” O’Donnell continued. “He called it new evidence. He said that on multiple occasions they asked for it. So they’re trying to make the case that they did everything they could legally. They asked for it and they couldn’t just get it. But I think there will be continued questions, and I think the NFL knows that they’ve got (to make) a statement about reforming the NFL in terms of domestic violence and sexual assault. It’s something that I think is at the top of their priority list.”
Rice, meanwhile, may one day return to the NFL.
“(Goodell) said (he hasn’t ruled) that out,” O’Donnell said. “So he opened the door to Ray Rice reforming, taking some additional steps. This could mean that at some point Ray Rice could return to the NFL. It depends on what happens in the future.”
Ultimately, though, O’Donnell doesn’t understand why Goddell – and the Baltimore Ravens – needed the TMZ video to react the way they did.
“Look, the first video tape showed her unconscious on the floor being dragged out by her feet,” O’Donnell said. “Did you really need to see the second tape inside the elevator where he punched her in the face and knocked her unconscious? Did that really change things?”
Apparently, yes. Goodell said the first tape was ambiguous about what happened, while the second tape left no ambiguity.
O’Donnell’s follow-up: What’s ambiguous about a girl lying unconscious on the floor?
Goodell didn’t have an answer for that.
“There’s no doubt that it makes a difference seeing that actual punch in the face,” O’Donnell said, “but I think there’s a lot of soul searching going on.”