ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY – A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while commissioner Roger Goodell has insisted the league didn’t see the violent images until this week.
The person played AP a 12-second voice mail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: “You’re right. It’s terrible.”
Hours after the report Wednesday, Goodell announced former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III will conduct a probe into how the league pursued and handled evidence as it investigated claims against Rice.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement that the investigation will be overseen by owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Goodell said that Mueller will have access to all NFL records and will have full cooperation from league personnel.
The law enforcement official, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, says he had no further communication with any NFL employee and can’t confirm anyone watched the video. The person said he was unauthorized to release the video but shared it unsolicited, because he wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.
The NFL has repeatedly said it asked for but could not obtain the video of the Baltimore Ravens running back hitting Janay Palmer — who is now his wife — at an Atlantic City casino in February.
The league says it has no record of the video, and no one in the league office had seen it until it was released by TMZ Monday. When asked about the voice mail Wednesday, NFL officials repeated their assertion that no league official had seen the video before Monday.
“We have no knowledge of this,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday. “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.”
Goodell, who was supposed to attend an award ceremony for Panthers owner Jerry Richardson in Charlotte Wednesday night, did not attend the event and instead changed his plans and headed back to New York.
The law enforcement official said he sent a DVD copy of the security camera video to an NFL office and included his contact information.
Starr suffers stroke
Green Bay Wisconsin AP
Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr is recovering from a mild stroke.
Starr’s family said Wednesday in a statement released by the Green Bay Packers that the 80-year-old Starr had the stroke last week.
Starr “is very functional and making progress every day . . . and will be released as soon as he regains his full strength,” the family said. “Bart’s doctors are confident for a full recovery. We remain grateful for your love and concern.”
Starr led the Packers to five NFL titles and two Super Bowl championships. He was Green Bay’s head coach from 1975-83.
Starr, who lives in the Birmingham, Alabama area, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1977. He has typically attended team-related events and at least one Packers game at Lambeau Field each year.