Speaking publicly for the first time since the disclosure of a videotape showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his now-wife inside a casino elevator, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated that the league was not granted access to the footage that led to Rice's release on Monday.
In an interview with CBS Evening News that aired on Tuesday, Goodell said that he was made aware of the second video, which website TMZ.com released Monday morning that showed Rice striking then-fiancee Janay Palmer in the face at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, when he arrived at the league office that day.
"We had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the elevator," Goodell stated. "We assumed that there was a video, we asked for video, but we were never granted that opportunity."
The Ravens released Rice, who had been serving a controversial two-game suspension handed by Goodell in July, just hours after the footage became public. The NFL in turn announced that the three-time Pro Bowl back would be suspended indefinitely as a result of the new evidence.
TMZ had previously posted video showing Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator soon after the incident, which occurred in February.
Monday's video shows the couple entering the elevator, apparently arguing, and then Rice hitting her with a left-handed blow as she moved toward him. She is knocked off her feet and her head slams into a railing inside the elevator, apparently knocking her unconscious.
"What we saw (Monday) was extremely clear, it was extremely graphic and it was sickening. And that's why we took action," said Goodell.
The NFL's initial two-game suspension was widely criticized, prompting the league to institute a harsher policy for players and league personnel over domestic violence cases. It includes a six-week suspension without pay for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense.
Goodell later said in a letter to NFL owners announcing the new rules that he "didn't get it right" when he suspended Rice in July for two games.
"Well, we certainly didn't know what was on the tape, but we have been very open and honest, and I have also, from two weeks ago, when I acknowledged that: 'We didn't get this right'," Goodell told CBS. "That's my responsibility, and I'm accountable for that."
Rice offered an apology in May and did so again in July at the start of the Ravens' training camp, calling his actions that night "totally inexcusable."
On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that it has seen a longer video that includes audio of the confrontation, in which the couple is yelling obscenities at each other.
According to the AP, Palmer appears to spit in Rice's face before he punches her. The wire service said it was shown the video by a law enforcement official under the condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to show it.
Rice was arrested after the incident and charged with simple assault-domestic violence but avoided prosecution by entering into a pretrial intervention program. The charges against him will be expunged from his record upon successful completion of the one-year program.