On Tuesday, Goodell told CBS that video released Monday showing the punch was "inconsistent" with what Rice and his representatives told him at a disciplinary meeting.
"Ray didn't lie to the commissioner," a source told ESPN. "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."
After the video was released, Goodell said that Monday was the first time he saw it and that the NFL was "never granted the opportunity" to see it. On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official said he sent a copy of the video to an NFL executive in April. The AP said it listened to a voicemail confirming an NFL office received it.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Goodell will have ex-FBI director Robert Mueller III lead an independent investigation into the Ray Rice assault case and how the NFL handled it.
- Molly Geary