A law enforcement official says video footage of Ray Rice assaulting his then fiancee Janay Palmer was sent to the NFL months before TMZ got a hold of the tape.
The source played the Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office confirming the video had arrived. A female voice says thank you and follows up with “You’re right. It’s terrible.”
The law enforcement official–who has remained nameless–maintains that he cannot confirm anyone watched the video and did not have any further communication with NFL officials. The source goes on to tell the Associated Press that he was authorized to hand over the footage to the NFL while officials decided Rice’s punishment.
The league has maintained that it had no knowledge of the video until Monday when TMZ broadcasted the footage on their site. When asked about the voicemail, league officials still hold strong to not having seen the video.
“We have no knowledge of this,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday. “We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it.”
Rice was originally suspended for two games, but after TMZ released the gruesome footage of Rice assaulting his now wife, the running back for the Baltimore Ravens was released of his contract.