Sen. Heller Wants Answers From NFL On Rice Video

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, wants some answers from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about what the NFL knew about the Ray Rice video and when.

Washington has been increasingly vocal about the incident, revealed in a video first published on TMZ showing the now former Baltimore Ravens player punching his wife unconscious and dragging her body out of an elevator.

A group of female senators called for Rice's permanent ban from the game—he is on indefinite suspension—and Heller was no less stern in his tone with the league and Goodell.

"I fear the failure of the NFL to understand the scope and severity of this act of domestic violence has already led to significant damage for vulnerable members of society," Heller said. "Moreover, I am highly disappointed the NFL’s reaction was only heightened once the public witnessed the elevator video.  By waiting to act until it was made public you effectively condoned the action of the perpetrator himself. I cannot and will not tolerate that position by anybody let alone the National Football League."

He wrote to the commissioner asking for "all information regarding whether anyone in the NFL knew about the elevator video, if so, when did they know, who did they tell and why did it not get to you." He also wants an explanation of the process of determining whether a player is subject to suspension when arrested for domestic violence, and plans to address "the harm your league has inflicted on survivors of domestic violence going forward."

He said he would "continue to follow the actions of the NFL and your stewardship to hold your league to a standard that the American public expects."

A Heller spokesperson said the league had not responded to the letter, which was dated Sept. 10.

On Sept. 10, the league announced it was launching an investigation into its handling of the evidence in the Rice domestic violence incident, headed by former FBI director Robert Mueller and overseen by New York Giants owner John Mara and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The final report will be made public.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.