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NFL: We didn’t see Ray Rice video until today

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10: Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on before playing the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Patrick Smith

How could the NFL only suspend Ray Rice for two games despite the video showing him punching his wife? The NFL says the answer is simple: They didn’t know about it.

The league’s PR department said this morning, hours after TMZ published the video, that no one in the NFL office had seen the video before.

“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today,” the league said in its statement.

That raises some obvious follow-up questions. For starters, why didn’t NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demand that Rice give him access to the tape? Rice and his lawyer had access to the tape, and the league could have said that Rice allowing the league to see the tape was a requirement of Rice being allowed to play in the NFL.

The other obvious follow-up is, Will the NFL now re-open the case against Rice, and consider a harsher discipline than just the two-game suspension he is currently serving?

The Ray Rice case has been such terrible PR for the NFL that it’s hard to imagine the league will allow him to return to the Ravens in a week. Now that the league has seen the Rice video, it’s time for the league to lengthen Rice’s suspension.

Click here for more on the Ray Rice case