Twelve House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Wednesday demanding "the highest level of transparency" concerning how the league investigated the Ray Rice domestic violence incident.
Goodell made clear in interviews Tuesday night with USA TODAY Sports and CBS that he does not feel his job is in jeopardy.
But clearly his handling of the Rice domestic violence issue is not going away and is reminiscent of the heat Congress and the House have increased on Goodell over changing the offensive nature of the Washington Redskins team name.
Congress probes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Ray Rice case
Are you ****ing kidding me? With everything going on in the country/world right now, they are interjecting themselves in this? Congratulations, America.
FULL COPY OF CONGRESSIONAL LETTER TO ROGER GOODELL
Dear Commissioner Goodell:
We write concerning the important issue of domestic violence, which unfortunately impacts every level of our society, and which we must find ways to combat comprehensively. Our professional sports leagues are important economic and cultural institutions in the United States and we are interested in the manner in which these leagues handle incidents of domestic violence by their players, owners, and other employees. We believe that these high-profile professional leagues are, in many ways, in a position of public trust and should be at the forefront of handling such incidents appropriately.
With this year marking the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act, we all recognize that this issue requires strengthened and sustained efforts by individuals, organizations, and government. Of course, we are particularly concerned about information that has come to light about the perpetration of domestic violence by one of the NFL's players, Ray Rice, against his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey on February 15, 2014.
Given the important role the NFL and the other major professional sports leagues can play in shaping public perceptions concerning domestic violence, it would appear to be in the public interest to have the highest level of transparency associated with reviews of potential misconduct.
Thus for example, while we understand that you have stated in an interview yesterday on behalf of the NFL that, "We assumed that there was a video, we asked for the video, we asked for anything that was pertinent, but we were never granted that opportunity," to our knowledge the public has not been informed as to specifically how and in what context the request was made, and specifically how relevant law enforcement responded. Nor has there been a full explanation as to whether the video was requested of others, such as Mr. Rice's attorney or the casino where the incident occurred (and if not, why not), or whether any employees, agents, or consultants of the league or any of its teams outside of your office had access to the video prior to September 8. We therefore urge greater transparency and explanations of these matters.
We welcome your recent willingness to change the NFL's policies regarding issues of domestic violence, and we also believe other major professional sports leagues should consider making their policies public and reviews transparent as well. We look forward to working with you and all of the major professional sports leagues so that we can all participate in the effort to reduce incidents of domestic violence, increase transparency in their review, and better respond to those cases that unfortunately do occur.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas)
Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (La.)
Rep. Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr. (Ga.)
Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.)
Rep. Judy Chu (Calif.)
Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.)
Rep. Suzan K. DelBene (Wash.)
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.)
cc: CC: The Honorable Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary; Mr. Gary Bettman, Commissioner, National Hockey League; Mr. Don Garber, commissioner, Major League Soccer; Mr. Bud Selig, Commissioner, Major League Baseball; Mr. Adam Silver, Commissioner, National Basketball Association