Just a couple days ago, yours truly wrote a post titled "Ray Rice. Beyond the obvious" (see stage right). I was mostly right, a little wrong, and one very important issue remains in question.
On the correct side of the ledger was the obvious. Though Rice's elevator fiasco happened back in February, it's ridiculous to think the cops and prosecutors didn't have a copy of the tape all along. Why it took until a few days ago to finally "surface", via TMZ, an entertainment outlet of all things, strongly suggests somebody's lying, and has been for months.
Commish Roger Goodell and his NFL honchos still maintain they were unaware of the incriminating video until it went viral. Ditto with the Baltimore Ravens, Rice's former team. Could be. Of course, once said video was broadcast to every nearby galaxy in the universe, both the NFL and Ravens took quick action. Baltimore cut him. Roger suspended him indefinitely. Yeah, yeah, we all know that.
Where I was wrong was to suggest the media wouldn't follow up on it, because another hot story would come along and off they'd go to their next sensational scoop. Turns out, nothing momentous has happened in the last few days and, other than your usual assortment of torn ACLs or who America decides to bomb next, nothing really exciting has happened to capture the attention of the thundering herd of newshounds. So, to their credit, they've looked deeper into who saw the elevator video, and when.
And that's where things start to get really dicey. The casino where the incident happened says they sent the tape to the cops, prosecutors, and even Ray Rice's own atttorney/agent within days of the knockout taking place. That sounds entirely plausible. If so, no way would Rice's legal counsel make the tape public. They were under no obligation to do so, and talk about a conflict of interest? Whoa.
But the cops and prosecutors are different animals with different legal obligations. Yes, they've been known to lie, cheat, and deceive by holding back evidence in the past in their quests for right/wrong convictions, but what possible good would it have done them to sit on the video for so many months in this case? This happened in Atlantic City. Even if they were football fans, it made no sense for them to go out of their way to protect a running back that played in Baltimore.
And then the worm turned again. Some "law enforcement official", who has chosen to remain, no surprise, anonymous, has now claimed the tape was sent to the NFL offices back in April. Only a couple months after the incident. Not bad by cop standards when it comes to turning over evidence.
Further, they claim to have a voice-mail from the NFL offices acknowledging they received it. Back in April. It shouldn't be that tough to substantiate. Unless the tape was delivered by a top-secret courier, highly doubtful, Fed-Ex, UPS, or even US snail mail will have a paper trail. Easy enough for competent reporters to check out.
On the other hand, maybe there's a reason this "law enforcement official" has remained anonymous. He could be lying too trying to provide cover for his department's collective butts. It certainly wouldn't be the first time such a thing happened. And so far, the original prosecutors have remained silent. Typically, when prosecutors think they have a strong case or, at the very least, have done no wrong, they will be front and center to the media trumpeting their cause. But not this time. Make of that what you will.
However...... if when all is said and done it turns out the NFL indeed had that tape since April, a certain Commissioner will be in a heap of trouble. There's only a few ways it can play out.
Goodell could claim that while the tape was delivered to the NFL offices, it was never sent up the chain of command for him and his honchos to review. It's possible, but would suggest incompetence on his part. If the CEO doesn't know what's going on with his junior executives to the point of them withholding information crucial to the company -- then obviously his management team leaves a great deal to be desired. And the boss should be held accountable for having assembled such a team.
Another possible outcome is a Watergate scenario. The head dude knew about it all along, but tried to cover it up. We know what happened to Nixon. When the evidence became overwhelming, he was forced to resign the Presidency in shame. Over a stupid little break in and burglary, which was never necessary in the first place. The act itself was dumb, but it was the ensuing cover-up that got him in such trouble.
If it turns out Goodell gets tied to a Tapegate in the Rice case, for equally implausible reasons, he can kiss his butt goodbye as Commissioner. Already a few NFL owners are questioning his judgement in this matter, and if they find out they've been deceived for months.....
Or it might just be that Goodell has been on the up and up all along. Maybe the NFL wasn't privy to that tape until last Monday, and the anonymous "law enforcement person" is just blowing smoke (lying) trying to deflect blame elsewhere. Also entirely possible.
Personally, I hope nothing earth-shaking happens in the world of sports in the next few days that will distract the attention of the media. It would be interesting to see them pursue this Tapegate case to the end. One way or the other, let the truth be known.
But one truth is inescapable. Somebody's lying.......