Jerry Angelo, who spent three decades with the Giants, Buccaneers, and Bears (most recently serving as Chicago's GM through 2011), gave an interview to USA Today in which he said he knew of "hundreds and hundreds" of domestic-violence incidents during his time in the league that teams—including his own—failed to take action on.
Angelo said he did not report to the league cases of domestic violences involving players because disciplinary action would have put his team at a competitive disadvantage.
"Our business is to win games," Angelo said. "We've got to win games, and the commissioner's job is to make sure the credibility of the National Football League is held in the highest esteem. But to start with that, you have to know who's representing the shield.''
"We got our priorities a little out of order,'' he said.
Angelo gives his lukewarm support for Roger Goodell—"He would never cover anything up"—but says the commissioner's failures in the Ray Rice case were indicative of a larger, league-wide dismissive attitude toward the seriousness of domestic violence.
Angelo told USA Today his own perspective changed after seeing the Rice elevator video, and he suspects it was the same in the NFL offices—that no one thought it was that big of a deal before they saw the evidence.
"It was the pictures, it was the video,'' he said. "We had never seen that before. I had never seen video on domestic violence. I think that's what got everybody's attention.''
It was only in 2008 that the NFL required its teams to report player arrests to the league.