CBS has nothing if not a conflict of interest when it comes to reporting the story of Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back who beat the woman who is now his wife and was fired this week after video of the elevator assault was made public.
Because the network and the NFL are business partners, it was reasonable to expect that it’s morning news show this morning would toss a few softballs to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in his first interview.
To her credit, host Norah O’Donnell did not shrink from the task.
Goodell said the NFL didn’t see the elevator videotape of Rice delivering a haymaker to his then-fiancee until this week.
“You know there are people who don’t believe that?” O’Donnell said.
“Well, it’s a fact because law enforcement was following the law,” Goodell said.
“But how is it a website like TMZ could get its hands on the video but the NFL couldn’t?” she persisted.
Goodell didn’t have much of an answer, then said the original video from a hallway was “ambiguous.”
“What’s ambiguous about her laying unconscious on the floor being dragged out by her feet?” O’Donnell said.
“Nothing,” Goodell said. “We did not know what led up to that.”
The league’s partner didn’t stop there, following up with New York Times columnist William Rhoden, who looked about as disgusted as anyone could.
“Maybe he didn’t see it,” Rhoden said, indicating that someone in his “inner circle” did.
“The NFL has turned this into a legal problem,” Rhoden said. “This is a moral problem.”
Related: Rhoden: Roger Goodell Saw Ray Rice’s Violence Through a Corporate Lens (NY Times).
Souhan: It’s time for Goodell to go (Star Tribune).