NFL to look into its handling of Rice case
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL called in a former FBI director to examine how it pursued and handled evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence case as pressure increased for the league to be more transparent about its original investigation.
The move late Wednesday came hours after The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement officer said he sent an NFL executive a video in April that showed Rice striking his then-fiancee at a casino. Goodell has maintained that no one in the NFL saw the video until it was released by TMZ Sports Monday.
Women’s organizations, members of Congress and players have called for more detail about the NFL’s han- dling of the Rice case. The criticism intensified after the law enforcement official’s account.
Goodell turned to Robert S. Mueller III, who was the director of the FBI for 12 years, to lead the inquiry. The probe will be overseen by owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, two of Goodell’s strongest supporters. Both are members of key NFL committees and have closely advised Goodell throughout his tenure.
The NFL called the probe independent, and did not discuss how the owners will work with Mueller. But there could be an appearance of conflict: Mara has already indicated he doesn’t think Goodell’s job should be in jeopardy.
“My understanding is that the league and the Ravens made repeated requests to obtain the video of the Ray Rice incident and were denied each time,” Mara said a few hours before the AP story broke. “The notion that the league should have gone around law enforcement to obtain the video is, in my opinion, misguided, as is the notion that the commissioner’s job is now in jeopardy.”
The law firm where Mueller is now a partner, WilmerHale, has connections to the NFL. The firm has represented Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, and several former members of the firm have taken positions with NFL teams.