Rice told NFL he hit fiancee

Ray Rice told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on June 16 that he punched his then-fiancee in a casino elevator, four sources have told “Outside the Lines,” an assertion that contradicts Goodell’s statement this week that “when we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.” Goodell made the statement Tuesday during an interview with CBS News, saying the latest video released by TMZ Sports about the incident was “inconsistent” with what the former Baltimore Ravens running back had told him. But four sources close to Rice say that during the disciplinary meeting in the commissioner’s office on June 16, Rice told Goodell he had hit Janay Rice, then his fiancee, in the face inside a Revel Casino Hotel elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and had knocked her unconscious. “Ray didn’t lie to the commissioner,” a source with knowledge of the meeting told “Outside the Lines.” “He told the full truth to Goodell — he made it clear he had hit her, and he told Goodell he was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again.” “He told the truth,” a second source said. “This is a public lynching of Ray.” A third source with knowledge of Rice’s discussion with the commissioner said: “There was no ambiguity about what happened [in the elevator].” A fourth source also confirmed how the information was relayed at the meeting; however, a fifth source with knowledge of the meeting said Rice told Goodell he had “slapped” his fiancee. The accounts given by the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, contradict Goodell’s statement that he did not know precisely what had happened inside the elevator until he watched the TMZ Sports-released videotape on Monday morning. After The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a copy of the in-elevator video was sent by a law enforcement official to an unnamed NFL executive last April, the league announced former FBI chief Robert Mueller would lead an independent inquiry of the Rice matter, overseen by New York Giants owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney. The discrepancy raises additional questions about Goodell’s decision to give the former Ravens running back a two-game suspension on July 24 for hitting his now-wife. In his letter explaining the reasons for the two-game suspension and financial penalties of $500,000, Goodell wrote to Rice, “As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league policies and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public, and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.” Rice’s alleged “ambiguity” during his meeting with Goodell may also emerge as an issue in Rice’s expected appeal of the league’s decision on Monday to suspend him indefinitely. A league disciplinary letter outlining the reasons for Monday’s…

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