The Ray Rice saga that will not end anytime soon saw a large contingent of Baltimore Ravens fans — men and women — show up Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium for the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers wearing Rice’s No. 27 jerseys, while NFL commissioner Roger Goodell comes under more fire about his knowledge of what took place in the Revel Hotel and Casino on Feb. 15.
The Ravens dominated the Steelers, 26-6. It was an impressive performance by Baltimore considering the attention that has circled the franchise since Monday’s release of video inside the Atlantic City hotel elevator that shows Rice striking and knocking out then-fiancee Janay Palmer, who is now his wife.
”We (were) all about getting the win. We wanted to kind of give that to Ray,” rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley said. ”We all wish the best for him. Even though he messed up, every man (has) to go through their mistakes to get better. We wish him the best, but as a team we’ve just got to keep moving forward.”
Meanwhile, four sources told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that Rice gave a vivid, accurate description of what took place in the elevator that night that changed his life and career. These assertions contradict Goodell’s statement this week that “when we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.”
Goodell made the statement Tuesday during an interview with CBS News, saying the latest video released by TMZ Sports about the incident was “inconsistent” with what Rice had told him. But the sources close to Rice say that during the disciplinary meeting in the commissioner’s office June 16, Rice told Goodell he had hit his fiancee, in the face inside the elevator and had knocked her unconscious.
“Ray didn’t lie to the commissioner,” a source with knowledge of the meeting told Outside the Lines. “He told the full truth to Goodell — he made it clear he had hit her, and he told Goodell he was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again.”
“He told the truth,” a second source said. “This is a public lynching of Ray.”
A third source with knowledge of Rice’s discussion with the commissioner said: “There was no ambiguity about what happened [in the elevator].” A fourth source also confirmed how the information was relayed at the meeting; however, a fifth source with knowledge of the meeting said Rice told Goodell he had “slapped” his fiancee.
Owners have said that if an investigation reveals Goodell had watched the video months ago — when a New Jersey law enforcement official said he sent the tape to the NFL office long before Monday’s release by TMZ — his tenure could be in jeopardy. Additionally, it could not bode well for Goodell if he is not being truthful about Rice’s statements or if the video reached the NFL offices but he did not see it, an indication of lack of institutional control.