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Congress turns up heat on NFL’s Roger Goodell regarding Ray Rice case

Roger Goodell
Several members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, shown in March, raising questions about the league’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident.
(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Pressure is building on the NFL to disclose the details of how hard it tried to obtain the elevator security video of Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer during its investigation of the case that led to Rice’s suspension.

Several members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday, raising questions about the league’s handling of the domestic violence incident.

On Monday, after TMZ posted the elevator video from the February incident, the Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice’s contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

There are lingering questions about when the league first saw the elevator tape, and whether the NFL was aggressive enough in pursuing the facts of the case before Goodell originally suspended the player for two games, a penalty widely criticized as far too lenient.

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Asked Tuesday about the league’s efforts to obtain the video, Goodell said in a CBS interview: “We assumed that there was a video. We asked for video. But we were never granted that opportunity.”

That quote is referenced in the letter from the Judiciary Committee members, which notes the public “has not been informed as to specifically how and in what context the request was made, and specifically how relevant law enforcement responded.”

The letter is signed by 12 members, among them John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the panel, and asks for “greater transparency and explanations” from the league.

Meanwhile, one of the nation’s largest feminist groups has called for Goodell to resign.

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The National Organization for Women says the NFL has “a violence-against-women problem” and “the only way to restore honor and integrity to the country’s most lucrative and popular pastime” is for Goodell to step down.

The group says the NFL should appoint an independent investigator to look into violence against women, sexual assault and stalking.  


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