9:59pm: Goodell announced that former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III will conduct an independent investigation on the Rice incident, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Mueller’s investigation will be overseen by NFL owners John Mara of the Giants and Art Rooney of the Steelers, and the final report will be made public (link).
7:06pm: Senate Commerce Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller is mobilizing members to hold hearings on the NFL domestic violence issue, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (on Twitter).
6:15pm: When asked how the NFL will look into the new report from the AP, a source told Norah O’Donnell of CBS (on Twitter) that the league’s “security department will be doing everything we can to determine if this is true.” An NFL exec told O’Donnell (link) that the AP report doesn’t contradict what Goodell said but “if there’s a delivery sitting under someone’s desk there will be consequences.”
6:13pm: A source tells Mark Maske of the Washington Post (on Twitter) that Goodell remains adamant that he won’t resign.
5:56pm: According to Josh Margolin, Darren Rovell, and Aaron Katersky of ABC News, the Revel casino told the Ravens to ask Rice’s lawyer for a copy of the video, but the team never followed through on that.
Meanwhile, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass, and GM Ozzie Newsome sat down with Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun and discussed the situation. Cass detailed the organization’s efforts to obtain a copy of the video, which included calling the casino, the prosecutor’s office and the New Jersey state police. Rice’s lawyer, however, was not in that list of people contacted for the footage.
4:07pm: On the heels of commissioner Roger Goodell issuing a memo to team owners and execs reiterating that the league was unable to view or obtain the elevator footage of Ray Rice‘s attack on his then-fiancée, a law enforcement official now says that he sent an NFL executive a copy of the video in April, writes Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press.
According to the AP report, the law enforcement official played a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number in which a female voice confirms the video arrived, expresses thanks, and says, “You’re right. It’s terrible.” Although the law enforcement official wasn’t legally authorized to released the video, he tells the AP that he shared it with the NFL because he wanted the league to see it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.
Goodell and league officials have repeatedly stated that they tried to view the elevator footage, requesting it from multiple police departments, but were unable to obtain it. In the wake of the AP’s report, an NFL spokesman tells Mike Garafalo of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that the league has “no knowledge” of anyone from its office viewing the video, and will “look into” the matter.
Needless to say, it would be a significant blow for the NFL and for Goodell if it turns out league executives had indeed viewed the recently-leaked video months ago. While a seemingly half-hearted and unsuccessful attempt to obtain the video reflects poorly on the NFL, it would be far more damaging for league officials if they viewed the footage, decided on merely a two-game suspension for Rice, and then tried to cover their tracks this week by lying about what they knew.