On the heels of an AP report that suggested NFL executives received and reviewed the footage of former Baltimore running back Ray Rice striking Janay Palmer as early as April, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III will conduct an independent investigation into the NFL’s “handling of evidence.”
According to a statement emailed to NFL network reporter Albert Breer, Mueller’s investigation will also be overseen by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney and New York Giants owner John Mara, and will publicly report findings. Mara and Rooney were selected because of their background as attorneys. However, they are reportedly close to Goodell.
Good part of Mueller appointment: greatly respected. Bad part: two owners overseeing, John Mara and Rooney, are close to Goodell.
â€” mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) September 11, 2014
“Commissioner Goodell pledged that Director Mueller will have the full cooperation of NFL personnel and access to all NFL records,” the statement said.
The allegations brought forward by the AP come from an unnamed official who has a voicemail from an NFL office number confirming that the NFL offices received the second Ray Rice video later made public by TMZ. The NFL quickly responded by claiming they had “no knowledge” of anyone receiving or watching the video.
Washington, D.C.-based Mueller was the director of the FBI for a total of 12 years before retiring in 2013. According to Greg Aiello, the NFL’s public relations spokesperson, prior to his career as director of the FBI, Mueller was a student athlete at Princeton and was also a U.S. Marine Corps officer.