One strange aspect of the ongoing Ray Rice fiasco is that the NFL is vigorously denying it ever saw a video of Rice beating his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an elevator, flatly contradicting what top football reporters were saying both publicly and privately over the summer. As we and others have noted, foremost among those reporters was SI's Peter King, who wrote the following in July:
There is one other thing I did not write or refer to, and that is the other videotape the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen, from the security camera inside the elevator at the time of the physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée.
How to square this with the NFL's insistence that it never saw the tape? Here's SI's Peter King, writing in his capacity as editor-in-chief of The MMQB, to explain:
Earlier this summer a source I trusted told me he assumed the NFL had seen the damaging video that was released by TMZ on Monday morning of Rice slugging his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City elevator. The source said league officials had to have seen it. This source has been impeccable, and I believed the information. So I wrote that the league had seen the tape. I should have called the NFL for a comment, a lapse in reporting on my part. The league says it has not seen the tape, and I cannot refute that with certainty. No one from the league has ever knocked down my report to me, and so I was surprised to see the claim today that league officials have not seen the tape.
I hope when this story is fully vetted, we all get the truth and nothing but the truth.
This is an incredible statement. In the most generous gloss of it, King is admitting to having casually transformed a third party's assumption that the NFL had seen the video into a factual assertion that it had actually done so, and to having done this at a time when it was convenient to the NFL's interests for the public to think that league officials were diligently investigating the case against Rice. This is the sort of thing no college newspaper reporter would ever do, to say nothing of the best-connected reporter in the game. (A less generous reading suggests that King is covering for his source, which would be incredible in its own way.)
Not to worry, though: King sincerely hopes someone else will eventually get to the bottom of this, and maybe they will.