If the NFL has experienced a worse week, we can’t recall it. Consider this rapid-fire series of bombshells that have dropped since last weekend.
TMZ releases a video showing Ravens running back Ray Rice punching and knocking out then-fiancée Janay Palmer during a February fight inside a casino elevator. The Ravens release Rice, and a short time later, the NFL announces it’s suspending him indefinitely.
Public backlash against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of Rice’s domestic violence builds even as Janay Rice comes forth with a defense of her husband. Some, including The Star’s editorial board, call for Goodell’s job.
Reports surface that the league had a copy of the damning video from inside the elevator before handing down its initial punishment to Rice (a two-game suspension). Goodell and the league deny this but announce that former FBI director Robert Mueller will conduct an “independent investigation” into the NFL’s handling of the case, and then report his findings to two NFL owners.
An anonymous NFL owner tells the Wall Street Journal that Goodell initially didn’t pursue the Rice investigation further because he was worried he’d look insensitive if he questioned Janay Rice’s account.
Vikings superstar running back Adrian Peterson is indicted in Houston on a charge of injury to a child. Peterson admits to using a “switch” to “whoop” his 4-year-old son, causing multiple lacerations to the boy’s legs, buttocks, back, hands and scrotum. The Vikings deactivate Peterson for Sunday’s game vs. the Patriots.
Also Friday, a report presented as part of the NFL’s ongoing concussion litigation shows that about three in 10 players will develop dementia or Alzheimer’s during their lifetime, a staggering figure even as concussion awareness has increased dramatically in recent years.
Peterson turns himself in to authorities in Texas, is booked on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child, and is released after posting a $15,000 bond. While legal action moves forward, NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy says Peterson’s case will also be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy.