ESPN host Keith Olbermann slammed the National Football League, the Baltimore Ravens, league commissioner Roger Goodell, and prosecutors in New Jersey on Monday, accusing them of covering up the severity of the attack by running back Ray Rice on his then-fiancee earlier this year.
“Roger Goodell’s existence, who he is, what he has turned the NFL commissioner’s office into, is now symbolized by Ray Rice’s brutal left hand striking Janay Palmer, and striking her again,” Olbermann said. “Mr. Goodell is an enabler of men who beat women. His position within the National Football League is no longer tenable.”
The Ravens cut Rice from the team shortly after TMZ released video of him knocking her out in a casino elevator in New Jersey this past February. Palmer later married Rice and argued on his behalf in a meeting with Goodell.
Rice was serving a two-game suspension imposed by the league at the time of his firing. But prosecutors had allowed Rice to enroll in an “intervention program,” allowing him to avoid assault charges in the incident.
Olbermann argued that the collective response by legal, league and team officials to the attack amounted to a “whitewashing” of Rice’s actions.
“There is no other conclusion possible,” Olbermann said. “Each body, each leading individual involved, came to a judicial conclusion about what had happened to Janay Palmer and what should happen to Ray Rice, and each — through deception or incompetence — misled the public, damaged the efforts of every man and every woman in this country seeking to merely slow down the murderous epidemic of domestic violence, and made a mockery of the process by which those who batter those they claim to love are to be brought to justice.”
Besides reiterating his argument last month that Goodell should resign, Olbermann also called for Rice to be banned for life from the league; for the resignations of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and president Richard Cass; and for officials in Atlantic County to investigate prosecutor Jim McClain, assistant prosecutor Diane Rupert, and Judge Michael Dorio to see if they were complicit in protecting Rice.
Olbermann also accused “all of us” — fans of the sport, executives, players and press outlets covering it — of “failing to draw a line in the sand” regarding domestic violence.
“Any games played by Baltimore without its executives and the commissioner having been dismissed and without Ray Rice being permanently banned by the National Football League must be fully boycotted by all of us,” he said. “If not, we become accessories after the fact.”
Watch Olbermann’s commentary, as aired on Monday, below.