The release of a video that appears to show Ravens star Ray Rice delivering a vicious punch to his then-fiance Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City elevator doesn’t tell us anything we didn't think we already knew, but it makes the NFL look even worse for the way it handled the aftermath of the incident.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has already admitted that he "didn’t get it right" when he levied only a two-game suspension on Rice after his arrest, but this just shows everyone how wrong he got it. The NFL has said that league officials didn’t see this part of the hotel security video before making a final determination on disciplinary action, which means that the decision was made based on the adjudication of the charge and the outcome of a meeting in which Ray and Janay Rice explained themselves to Goodell.
What happens next may depend on whether Goodell feels that the new video disputes anything that Rice and his wife told him during that meeting. If so, he might have an opening to add to the suspension.
There’s no recent precedent for something like that, and it would likely be challenged by the players union, but it’s hard to imagine the NFL and the Ravens trying to ride this scandal out without some further action.
Speculation is rampant on Twitter that the Ravens may step in and impose their own discipline on Rice – or even release him. Don’t think he’s going to get cut, but the team needs to do something other than defer to the league. This isn’t going away.
The video raises all sorts of questions about how this situation was handled at all levels. For instance, if the police were given all video evidence at the time, was it really appropriate to allow Rice to avoid punishment by simply agreeing to enter a diversion program and undergo domestic violence counseling?
When you see that punch, I think the answer is obvious.