With calls for his resignation making headlines, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell broke his silence on the Ray Rice domestic violence video made public by TMZ on Monday. The disturbing video showing Rice striking his then-fiancee and now wife in the elevator of casino in Atlantic City in February directly led the Baltimore Ravens and NFL took actions that many believed were long overdue.
In the first clip that aired from his sit-down interview with CBS' Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday, Goodell insisted that the NFL had not seen the explicit video before it was released by TMZ on Monday.
"We had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the elevator," Goodell responded when asked if the NFL knew about the elevator video prior to Monday. "We assumed that there was a video. We asked for video. We asked for anything that's pertinent. But we were never granted that opportunity."
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The incriminating video from the domestic violence incident that led to Rice's arrest in February was made public by TMZ on Monday. Just hours after the release of the video, the Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice's contract and the NFL announced that the two-game suspension levied in July was being changed to an indefinite ban.
"I don't know how TMZ or any other website gets their information," Goodell said when asked how TMZ obtained the video before the NFL, according to a transcript of the conversation at CBSNews.com. "We are particularly reliant on law enforcement. That's the most reliable. It's the most credible. And we don't seek to get that information from sources that are not credible."
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Before the NFL announced Rice's initial two-game suspension during the offseason, TMZ had released another video from the incident. That video released by TMZ shortly after Rice's February arrest showed him dragging then-fiancee Janay Palmer out of the elevator seemingly unconscious.
"I will tell you that what we saw on the first videotape was troubling to us in and of itself," Goodell told O'Donnell. "But what we saw yesterday was extremely clear, it was extremely graphic and it was sickening. And that's why we took the action yesterday."
While the Goodell maintains that the NFL asked law enforcement officials for the elevator video, the league apparently never attempted to obtain the footage from the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where the incident took place. Citing unnamed sources who worked at the casino at the time of the incident, TMZ reported on Tuesday that the NFL could have viewed the footage had it simply asked.
In the wake of TMZ releasing the second video and Rice being suspended indefinitely, ESPN's Keith Olbermann called for Goodell to resign from his post. The call came during a strong rebuke of the many parties responsible for handling the Rice case that aired on Monday after the league announced its revised suspension.
"Mr. Goodell's ineptitude has not merely rendered this football season meaningless and irrelevant by contrast, it has not only reduced supporting or watching NFL football to a distasteful even a disrespectful act, but most importantly it has comforted the violent and afflicted the victim," Olbermann said on Monday. "His push to increase NFL punishment of domestic abusers to roughly one-third that of repeat pot smokers, his decision today to suspend Rice indefinitely after the Ravens had fired him are elements of classic tragedy wherein the right thing is finally done only after it is too late to matter. Roger Goodell's existence, who he is, what he has turned the NFL Commissioner's office into is now symbolized by Ray Rice's brutal left hand striking Janay Palmer, and striking her again. Mr. Goodell is an enabler of men who beat women. His position within the National Football League is no longer tenable."
According to O'Donnell, Goodell addressed the calls for him to step down during their interview.
"I asked him if he feels like his job is on the line," O'Donnell told Bob Schieffer of "CBS Evening News" on Tuesday after the interview. "And he said, 'No. I'm used to the criticism. I'm used to that. Every day I have to earn my stripes,' he said."
Additional clips from O'Donnell's interview with Goodell will air Wednesday on "CBS This Morning," according to CBSNews.com.