The AP is reporting that a law enforcement official sent the NFL a tape of running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée Janay Rice months ago:
BREAKING: AP Source: Law enforcement official sent copy of Ray Rice tape to NFL executive in April
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 10, 2014
The NFL disputes this account. In a statement, the league said, "We have no knowledge of this. We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it."
But initially, the league had only suspended Rice for two games. Facing criticism, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claimed he and other league officials had only seen an older, less graphic video — which showed Ray Rice dragging Janay Rice, unconscious, from an Atlantic City elevator — and hadn't been able to see the second video during its investigation.
"We assumed that there was a video. We asked for video. But we were never granted that opportunity," Goodell said on CBS This Morning. In a memo to the league's 32 teams, Goodell said the league had asked law enforcement for the video, but didn't ask the casino directly.
Now an unnamed law enforcement official has told the AP that he sent a DVD of the newer video unsolicited to an NFL executive on April 9th. The source reportedly played the AP a voicemail he received from NFL offices, in which a female voice confirms the DVD arrived, and says "You're right. It's terrible," referring to the footage. The source reportedly had no further contact with the league.
The video sent to the NFL — and played for the AP — is slightly different than the TMZ version. It includes audio of an argument between Ray and Janay Rice that occurred just before he threw the punch. It's also longer, and shows hotel staff meeting Ray Rice after he drags Janay Rice from the elevator. One staff member reportedly says, "She's drunk, right?" then, "No cops."
- Our full explainer on the Ray Rice case and the NFL's response
- SB Nation's complete timeline of events
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Update: this story has been edited to reflect ongoing developments.