NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, attempting to protect the shield, has brought in a famous badge. The league has hired former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III to investigate the NFL’s actions in handling evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence case.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday that John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers, close advisers to Goodell, will help supervise the investigation, and Goodell said Mueller will be given access to all the records the NFL possesses on the matter.
The controversy swirling around Goodell intensified after an anonymous law enforcement official informed the Associated Press that last April he had forwarded a videotape of Rice punching his fiancée. Goodell had asserted that no one in the NFL’s office had seen the video before TMZ released it online earlier this week.
The independent investigation doesn’t satisfy Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, who wants Goodell gone. She said that the hiring of Mueller was “just window dressing…. The NFL does not just have a Ray Rice problem, they have a violence against women problem. NOW continues to ask for Roger Goodell to resign, and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the entire NFL community — not just regarding the Ray Rice incident — and to recommend real and lasting reforms.”
Mueller served as director of the FBI for 12 years, and now works for the WilmerHale law firm, which helped make the NFL’s “Sunday Ticket” deal with DirecTV. Some of its attorneys left the firm to work for NFL teams.
An NFL executive said that Goodell’s job should be safe, unless someone in the league office had actually seen the tape before Monday, saying that “if Goodell and the league saw the video beforehand, he is not commissioner in March for the league meetings.”