Goodell: Video 'starkly different' from Rice's description of incident
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to the NFL Players Association that Ray Rice's suspension was changed from two games to indefinite because the video of Rice striking his then-fiancée, now-wife, Janay Palmer shows a "starkly different sequence of events" from what Rice and his representatives described in a disciplinary meeting in June.
The letter, which was obtained by ESPN, confirmed that Rice is suspended indefinitely.
"This video shows a starkly different sequence of events from what you and your representatives stated when we met on June 16," Goodell wrote, "and is important new information that warrants reconsideration of the discipline imposed on you in July.
"Based on this new information, I have concluded that the discipline imposed upon you in July was insufficient under all the circumstances and have determined instead to impose an indefinite suspension."
Goodell told CBS News earlier this week that the video, which was released by TMZ.com early Monday morning, was "inconsistent" with the description provided by Rice and his representatives at the meeting. A later report from ESPN's Outside the Lines, citing four sources, said Rice told Goodell in the meeting that he had punched Palmer.
The NFLPA has three days to tell the league whether it plans to appeal the suspension. NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told ESPN that it is "considering all options."
Goodell has come under intense scrutiny since the release of the video. On Tuesday, Goodell said had never seen the video. Earlier Tuesday, TMZ.com reported Goodell never asked the casino to see the video.
But the Associated Press reported Wednesday that a law enforcement official said he sent the video to an NFL executive in April. The official told the AP he could not confirm whether anyone watched the video. The NFL has asked a former FBI director to head an "independent" investigation into the league's handling of the Rice case.
The Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice's contract after the video was released. The NFL suspended him indefinitely.
The altercation occurred inside an elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on Feb. 15. Rice pleaded not guilty to an aggravated assault charge and avoided trial. He was recently approved to enter a pre-trial intervention program.