Keith Olbermann annihilated Roger Goodell on his program today, claiming the NFL commissioner conspired with the Baltimore Ravens and Atlantic County prosecutors to cover up Ray Rice's assault of his then-fiancée Janay Palmer. Olbermann said that Goodell "must resign."
If not, he continued, Goodell's pattern of enabling "men who beat women" (spoken as an OTS graphic declared Goodell "Ray Rice's Left Hand") requires NFL ownership to fire the commissioner. Here, from the closed captioning, is a transcript of Olbermann's opening remarks.
We begin tonight with the unavoidable and simple truth that, intentionally or by neglect, the Atlantic County district attorney's office, the Baltimore Ravens, the National Football League and Roger Goodell conducted a cover-up of Ray Rice's brutal assault on his then fiancee on February 15. There is no other conclusion possible.
Each body, each leading individual involved, came to a judicial conclusion about what had happened to Janay Palmer and what should happen to Ray Rice. And each, through deception or incompetence, misled the public, damaged the efforts of every man and every woman seeking to merely slow down the murderous epidemic of domestic violence, and made a mockery of the process by which those who batter those who they claim to love, are be brought to justice.
And not one of them, not commissioner Goodell, not NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch, not NFL chief counsel Jeff Pasch, not Baltimore team president Richard Cass, not Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome, not assistant prosecutor Diane Rupert of Atlantic County, New Jersey, not prosecutor Jim McClane, not superior court judge Michael Donio, not Ray Rice himself, no matter what actions were taken today against Rice nor what might be taken in the future, none of them have any remaining credibility, and each must leave or be expelled from their current positions. And despite the obsession of the moment, it does not truly matter whether they had seen this video before today. The league, the team, the prosecutors either white washed Ray Rice's brutal assault without having seen this video, or they saw the video and white washed Rice's brutal assault anyway.
I accuse prosecutors McLane and Rupert and Judge Donio, even with the full weight of the law behind them, of failing to seek or failing obtain or failing act upon that in-elevator video, of failing to put Ray Rice in jail where he belongs.
The state of New Jersey must immediately begin an inquiry unto whether or not the failures of McClane and Rupert and Donio are mere incompetence, or if they rose to the level of criminal malfeasance.
I accuse president Cass and general manager Newsome of Baltimore of failing to act internally after The ludicrousness of the Rice two-game suspension should have become apparent, even to them.
They have had six weeks to add a team suspension to Rice's token league punishment, to try to make the scales of justice slightly less out of all balance. They did nothing, until they terminated Rice's contract today after all of them failed to get away it.
Mr. Casse and Mr. Newsome put the meaninglessness of their own team's financial and on-field success ahead of the safety and well-being not only of Janay Palmer, but of every woman in the country now threatened by a man who, because of how they covered for Ray Rice, is a little more more confident of he can get away with it.
I accuse Roger Goodell of conducting a kangaroo court by interviewing Janay Palmer-Rice with Ray Rice present, in contradiction of all recommended practices when dealing with victims of domestic abuse, thus virtually guaranteeing that whatever testimony she gave them of the events of February 15th, they had the validity of a video made by a hostage with a gun to her head.
Putting Janay Palmer in a position to plead for her husband's career, perhaps being at the risk of beaten again if she failed, that Roger Goodell did.
Seek and act upon the videotape that should have sent Ray Rice to jail without bail, that he dud not do.
Commissioner Goodell, as I first said on this program on Aug. 1, must resign.
If he will not do so, NFL owners must fire him, and fire senior vice president Birch, and chief counsel Pasch. Pasch, of all people, should've known better than to put the victim on trial and acquit without evidence,
Mr. Goodell's ineptitude has not merely rendered this football season meaningless and irrelevant by contrast, it has not only reduced supporting or watching football to a distasteful, even a disrespectful act, but most importantly it has comforted the violent and afflicted the victim.
His push to increase NFL punishment of domestic abusers to roughly that one-third that of repeat pot smokers, his decision today to suspend Rice indefinitely, after the Ravens had fired him, are elements of classic tragedy, wherein the right thing is finally done only after it's too late to matter.
Roger Goodell's existence, who he is, what he has turned The NFL commissioner's office into, is now symbolized by Ray Rice's brutal left hand striking Janay Palmer and striking her again. Mr. Goodell is an enabler of men who beat women.
His position within the National Football League is no longer tenable.
And I accuse Ray Rice of a brutal and potentially deadly assault, followed not by admission and contrition, but by a pious, self-serving, insincere, cynical devious, manipulative, unapologetic performance to protect his job and his money at the expense of the truth, at the expense the public, at the expense the next woman he brutalizes. He has already had his second chance. This new video shows he had already squandered it. Ray Rice must never be allowed back in a National Football League uniform.
And lastly, I accuse us, all of us, executives, players, fans, reporters, of failing to draw a line in the sand when one was needed most. Any games played by Baltimore without its executives and the Commissioner having been dismissed, and without Ray Rice Being permanently banned by the National football League, must be fully boycotted by all of us. If not, we become accessories After the fact.