Now it's Roger Goodell's turn.
The NFL commissioner did the right thing Monday after it was the only thing left to do.
He suspended Baltimore's Ray Rice indefinitely after video released Monday showed what most everyone already suspected, that Rice knocked out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City elevator in Februrary. But the new video might be almost as damning to Goodell as it is to Rice, because it's prompted everyone to take another look at Goodell's initial two-game suspension for the player in July.
It might not get easier for the commish today. TMZ, which released the elevator video Monday, was back today with casino officials who said they would've given the NFL a copy of the video, if the NFL had asked for one.
The NFL says that it asked Atlantic City police and other law enforcement for the elevator video, along with any other pertinent evidence. Police didn't supply the video, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, so no one in the NFL offices watched it.
It's a lame defense, and it's ultimately just as contemptible.
First, the lame. The NFL - with its powerful private security force and relationships with all levels of law enforcement - couldn't get its hands on the same casino video that the police, Ray Rice's attorney, and TMZ managed to get? The NFL could also have asked casino officials for a copy. It could have asked Rice's attorney, who might have balked but had no real leverage to say no.
But the NFL didn't ask. Because Goodell must not have wanted to know. Because the commissioner knew what we all knew. That Janay Palmer walked into that elevator conscious. That she was dragged out of that elevator unconscious. That it was hard to imagine any kind of reason that would justify her ending up that way.
But without visual evidence of those moments between, Rice and the Ravens and Goodell had just enough space to craft a way out. So the Ravens and Rice constructed the fiction that Janay Palmer was complicit in getting knocked out, that Ray was merely defending himself. They put her up in front of the cameras with Rice. They released this tweet:
Goodell, when he ruled that Rice deserved to miss only two games, made sure to note how counseling had been beneficial to both Ray and Janay Rice. Because this awful moment wasn't just Ray's fault.
It was a well-crafted, reprehensible falsehood.
No one really bought it then, which is what prompted Goodell to admit he was wrong and introduce a new, stern domestic violence policy.
But now we have another Ray Rice video, and now we know that Roger Goodell didn't perform the most basic NFL duty. He didn't watch the film before making the call.
Instead, he let a lie happen. A troubling and telling lie. It's his turn to go.
Peter St. Onge