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NFL Investigation Into Ray Rice Incident Finds Officials Did Not See Elevator Video Before Public

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller's report was released on Thursday.

Originally posted on
Updated on

On Thursday, former FBI Director Robert Mueller released a report detailing his investigation into NFL's handling of the Ray Rice scandal.

The investigation was largely to determine if the NFL had in fact seen the full surveillance video of Ray Rice assaulting then-fianceé Janay Palmer in an elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last February. The full video was released by TMZ.

Mueller said his investigation determined that the NFL had not in fact seen the video before it was released by TMZ.

In September, the Associated Press reported that an executive at the NFL received a copy of the full video months prior to the release by TMZ. The Mueller Report found this to be unsubstantiated. This conclusion was determined through hundreds of interviews, review of documents and computer files, checking telephone logs, and an investigation into mailroom logs. There was also an anonymous tip line set up for employees, but no calls were received.

Later in the report, it is said that the Associated Press's anonymous source used a burner phone to place the call, and that the AP was unhelpful in providing information that would allow the investigation on that to proceed.

The report outlines the ways in which the NFL failed to produce an accurate investigation on their first attempt:

Our investigation identified a number of investigative steps that the League did not take to acquire additional information about what occurred inside the elevator. League investigators did not contact any of the police officers who investigated the incident, the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, or the Revel to attempt to obtain or view the in-elevator video or to obtain other information. No one from the League asked Rice or his lawyer whether they would make available for viewing the in-elevator video they received as part of criminal discovery in early April. And, after the initial contacts with the Ravens in the immediate aftermath of the incident, League investigators did not follow up with the Ravens to determine whether the team had additional information.

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The report concludes with suggestions for how the NFL might proceed with domestic violence cases in the future. Many of those changes have already been implemented in the league's new Personal Conduct Policy.

Robert Mueller, who led the investigation, has financial ties to the NFL, despite the league's insistence that this review would be "independent."

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters / Reuters

Mueller is a partner with WilmerHale law firm, which has represented the NFL in negotiations with DirecTV. In addition to the tie to the league, Baltimore Ravens GM Richard Cass worked for WilmerHale.

New York Giants President John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II released a joint statement in which they showed support for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:

It is clear to us that Commissioner Goodell was forthright in the statements he made to the owners about this matter, and we have every confidence that Roger Goodell is the right person to lead the league as we move forward.

Goodell released a statement in which he found the investigation that absolved him of wrongdoing to have a favorable result.

While this investigation has now concluded, our focus on the underlying issues and our commitment to positive change remain as strong as ever. We have all learned a great deal in the past months and expect to be judged by how we lead going forward on issues concerning domestic violence and sexual assault.

Read the full report here:

Lindsey Adler is a sports reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Lindsey Adler at lindsey.adler@buzzfeed.com.

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