When it comes to Ray Rice and Roger Goodell, just about everything that has happened during this domestic-abuse fiasco has been an absolute head-scratcher, including the prosecution’s decision to allow Rice to enter a pre-trail intervention program.
“That, to me, is one of the more interesting things,” CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Although it’s not a hard, absolute rule, generally speaking, violent crimes (don’t) usually qualify. Now, sometimes people (get) in if there (are) extraordinary circumstances, but generally speaking, it (is) not a program that (is) going to handle violent felonies. I was sort of puzzled in the beginning when he got in. Now, maybe there’s something the prosecutor knows. Maybe he knows something that we didn’t. But it is a little bit puzzling to me how he got into this program to start with.”
Is it possible that Rice’s celebrity status had something to do with it?
“It’s hard not to conclude that,” Ford said. “If I’m Ray Rice’s lawyer, let’s be honest: I’m calling up a prosecutor and I’m saying, ‘Hey, this is a big-time celebrity. He’s done really good things. Let’s really consider him.’ I think the hard fact is if this was some (random guy) who did this same thing in a casino and punched his wife, I’m not so sure he’s getting into the pre-trial intervention program.”
Goodell, meanwhile, looks bad from just about every angle in this ordeal. While Ford admitted he knows Goodell personally and has a great deal of respect for him, he does believe the NFL commissioner has made some mistakes.
“Do I think that from the very beginning (giving a) two-game suspension was a horrible misjudgment on their part? Absolutely,” Ford said. “I think they realize that now, too. But what people have to realize is he’s employed by owners to protect the league. His job – and this might sound harsh – but his job, as he said, is to protect the shield. That’s what he does.”
Ford added that Goodell’s claim about the elevator video – that he tried to get it from law enforcement but was denied – is most likely accurate.
“If I’m the prosecutor and I’m putting this case together and I’ve got this evidence, I’m not sharing it with private citizens – even if it’s the NFL,” Ford said. “I got a job to do. I don’t go sharing my evidence with private citizens, no matter how much respect I might have for them. Legally, if this is being presented to a grand jury, it may be illegal to leak that out – because what happens in a grand jury is supposed to remain secret and sacrosanct.”
All that said, Ford has a hard time believing that NFL investigators were unable to get any information out of law enforcement. Even if they couldn’t see the video, they could have at least asked for a description of it.
Besides, the police report indicated that Rice knocked Janay Rice out with one punch.
“Do you really need a video for that?” Ford asked. “I don’t know.”