Ban Ray Rice, or fire Roger Goodell: Somebody’s head needs to roll

footballstock1The story on the Ray Rice domestic-assault incident has now been updated from we don’t know what happened in the elevator to oh, my God, he knocked her the eff out!

Which means this story has come to a new turning point: either Rice lied to the NFL about what happened in the elevator with his then-fiancee, now-wife Janay, or the NFL knew all along what happened in the elevator, and sold us a bill of goods, assuming that the video footage of Rice punching his wife not once, but twice, knocking her out cold, then dragging her from the elevator like a sack of potatoes, would never see the light of day.

If Rice lied, he has earned himself a lifetime ban; if the NFL knew all along, Commissioner Roger Goodell is fired for cause.

There is no gray area on either side of this. Somebody needs to fall on or be pushed on to a sword.

And let me be clear on this point: I don’t assume that the NFL hadn’t already seen the video footage that TMZ shared with the public today. There had been rumors to the effect that Goodell and others in the league office had seen the entire video, which were later half-heartedly debunked by the NFL’s sycophants-masquerading-as-newshounds working for outlets like Sports Illustrated and ESPN, but it’s just hard to imagine that the Western Hemisphere’s most powerful sports business dealt with a huge PR crisis without having all the facts at hand during the decision-making process.

Because what eventually happened, TMZ getting its grimy hands on the smoking gun, was clearly bound to happen; in fact, the only surprise to this is that it took this long for the video to get out the way it has today.

Which brings us to Goodell, who either knew about the video, had seen it, and literally barely slapped Rice on the wrist, or somehow didn’t know about it, and didn’t make an effort to know about it, which would be the only thing you could say about a video that is now in the public domain.

Either way, CYA or simple incompetence, this is the definition of malfeasance in office.

Bottom line is that this isn’t the kind of thing that can be swept back under the rug. A head needs to roll. It’s Rice for lying to Goodell, which I don’t assume is what happened here, but if he did, then he’s done, forever; or it’s Goodell, for adding to the mockery that is the modern-day NFL that has already made it clear that it doesn’t care about its players’ health or the health and safety of players’ family members.

– Column by Chris Graham

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