Let's look at the facts and fill in the gaps with common sense. The NFL had to have seen/looked at the tape. There was no reason to not look at the tape. That's all you really need to come to the conclusion that the NFL is completely full of it by claiming ignorance when it comes to the full extent of the Ray Rice affair.
The NFL League Office and the Baltimore Ravens organization have both publicly denied being privy to the video tape of Rice knocking out his wife out until yesterday morning, and TMZ, the ones who had leaked the tape, have conflicting reports saying the NFL deliberately chose not to see the video tape, but that some NFL security "dudes" did see the tape. Then there's Peter King, the NFL's reporting glory boy, backtracking on his original claim that the NFL did in fact see the tape, covering for the same sources that had screwed him over in the first place when he had approached them about the matter in February. This has been a long and sordid process of making the truth more and more opaque as the days go on, distancing ourselves further away from what occurred in February. There's no way we get solid evidence that Roger Goodell saw the tape with his own eyes before it was leaked to the internet yesterday. Any evidence of that has long been deleted from a league office computer, completely irretrievable, and any reporter that's best in a position to dope out the proper justice that needs to be done here in pointing their fingers in a generally sensible direction won't do so, because they don't want to publicly announce that their sources in the league office have clearly played them - thus putting all previous stories from those sources in doubt. Guilty by association.
We don't need evidence to fill in the gaps though - we have common sense that works just as well in this scenario. Here's all you really need to know:
- Roger Goodell really likes to suspend players to further consolidate power within his office.
- Goodell really likes to make strong statements in the media to increase the PR appeal of his office.
- If you're investigating an incident like this, you're going to want to look at all the evidence associated with the incident - it would only make sense at least somebody at the NFL saw the tape.
- The tape was bound to surface at some point - people had already seen it. Seldom do events like these stay quiet for long in this day and age.
- Legally speaking, nothing good can come from avoiding the tape.
- It doesn't take a rocket scientist to at least take a guess at what was on the tape, given that the other already leaked tape shows Ray Rice dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer out of an elevator.
Roger Goodell is stupid, but he's not that stupid. He had to have seen the tape, because considering the aforementioned factors, the risks of not watching it are too high. They knew what was on the tape, and they heard Janay Palmer testify, and they still thought that two games sounds fair. That logic filtered through Goodell's office to the Baltimore Ravens' office out to the national media. Everything is easily explained if you consider that these are all very stupid, smug men who think alike. And nothing can be done to rectify their mistakes - despite how hard they may try. There was no good reason not to watch that tape. They saw it, and they thought little of it, and now they're praying you don't notice.