By SP Biloxi
Before I post the NFL Constitution and By Laws on the Commissioner position, ESPN has just dropped this bombshell story. This is not good for Goodell:
The seven-month scandal that is threatening Roger Goodell’s future as NFL commissioner began with an unexpected phone call in the early morning hours on a Saturday in February.
Just hours after running back Ray Rice knocked out his then-fiancée with a left hook at the Revel Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Baltimore Ravens’ director of security, Darren Sanders, reached an Atlantic City police officer by phone. While watching surveillance video — shot from inside the elevator where Rice’s punch knocked his fiancée unconscious — the officer, who told Sanders he just happened to be a Ravens fan, described in detail to Sanders what he was seeing.
Sanders quickly relayed the damning video’s play-by-play to team executives in Baltimore, unknowingly starting a seven-month odyssey that has mushroomed into the biggest crisis confronting a commissioner in the NFL’s 95-year history.
“Outside the Lines” interviewed more than 20 sources over the past 11 days — team officials, current and former league officials, NFL Players Association representatives and associates, advisers and friends of Rice — and found a pattern of misinformation and misdirection employed by the Ravens and the NFL since that February night.
After the Feb. 15 incident in the casino elevator, Ravens executives — in particular owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome — began extensive public and private campaigns pushing for leniency for Rice on several fronts: from the judicial system in Atlantic County, where Rice faced assault charges, to commissioner Goodell, who ultimately would decide the number of games Rice would be suspended from this fall, to within their own building, where some were arguing immediately after the incident that Rice should be released.
The Ravens also consulted frequently with Rice’s Philadelphia defense attorney, Michael J. Diamondstein, who in early April had obtained a copy of the inside-elevator video and told Cass: “It’s f—ing horrible.” Cass did not request a copy of the video from Diamondstein but instead began urging Rice’s legal team to get Rice accepted into a pretrial intervention program after being told some of the program’s benefits. Among them: It would keep the inside-elevator video from becoming public.
For its part, the NFL — which in other player discipline cases has been able to obtain information that’s been sealed by court order — took an uncharacteristically passive approach when it came to gathering evidence, opening itself up to widespread criticism, allegations of inconsistent approaches to player discipline and questions about whether Goodell gave Rice — the corporate face of the Baltimore franchise — a light punishment as a favor to his good friend Bisciotti. Four sources said Ravens executives, including Bisciotti, Cass and Newsome, urged Goodell and other league executives to give Rice no more than a two-game suspension, and that’s what Goodell did on July 24.
Most sources spoke with “Outside the Lines” on the condition of anonymity, citing the NFL’s just-launched, self-described independent investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the former FBI chief, which is being overseen by John Mara, the New York Giants’ owner, and Art Rooney II, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ co-owner. Mara and Rooney are close confidants of Goodell’s. The interviews, viewed together, paint a picture of a league and a franchise whose actions — and inaction — combined to conceal — or ignore — the graphic violence of Rice’s assault. When evidence of it surfaced anyway, the NFL and the Ravens quickly shifted gears and simultaneously attempted to pin the blame on Rice and his alleged lack of truthfulness with Goodell about what had happened inside the elevator.
This is not good for Goodell since he gave a press conference today promising the clean up the NFL reputation on the human stain left of several recent NFL scandals. Now for the question in hand: Can Goodell be removed as NFL Commissioner? Here is Article VI, Section 6.5(G) of the NFL’s Constitution and Bylaws:
In the event that the Commissioner or any other officer of the League shall be convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or be physically or mentally incapacitated to perform his duties or shall fail or refuse to abide by the Constitution and Bylaws of the League, and the Executive Committee finds that such action by such officer is detrimental to the best interests of the League, or in the event the Commissioner or any other officer of the League fails or is unwilling to perform his duties, then such Committee shall have the power after notice and hearing to suspend or remove said officer and to terminate any contract between such Commissioner or officer and the League.
“Detrimental to the best interests of the League” are very strong words as Goodell better pray 1. that there isn’t another NFL domestic violence or child abuse scandal and 2. that the bombshell story of a possible cover-up by the NFL of NFL player Ray Rice scandal reported by ESPN isn’t true. Below is the full Constitution and Bylaws of the NFL: