Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that commissioner Roger Goodell has “strong support” from influential ownership groups in the league, despite the league’s handling of the Ray Rice investigation.
“They’re standing by him, across the board,” a league source tells Goodell. “You haven’t seen one owner come out questioning him. Their instinct is to defend him, and it’s going to take quite a bit to change that.”
A source tells La Canfora, that it would require current independent investigation to reveal that Goodell was “outright lying” about having seen the videotape of Rice punching his then-fiancée or proof that he participated in a cover-up for him to fired.
Giants owner John Mara and Steelers owner Art Rooney III, who are overseeing the independent investigation released a statement on Thrusday outlining how the process will play out:
Commissioner Goodell called us on Wednesday evening and requested that we oversee the independent investigation that will be conducted by former FBI Director Robert Mueller III. Our role is not to conduct or direct the investigation but to support Mr. Mueller and assist him in gaining whatever access or resources he needs. At the conclusion of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, we will receive his findings on behalf of the League’s owners.
We have spoken with Mr. Mueller today, and he has informed us he is prepared to begin immediately. No timeline was established and we stressed that he should take as much time as necessary to complete a thorough investigation. We agreed that the scope of the investigation should be aimed at getting answers to specific questions, including what efforts were made by league staff to obtain the video of what took place inside the elevator and to determine whether, in fact, the video was ever delivered to someone at the league office, and if so, what happened to the video after it was delivered.
Mr. Mueller assured us that his investigation will be thorough and independent, and that he will keep us informed of his progress. We asked Mr. Mueller to report his conclusions to us to be shared with NFL Owners, and we agreed that his final report will be shared with the public.
Our sole motive here is to get the truth and then share Mr. Mueller’s findings with the public.
We’ll have more updates regarding this situation as the news is available.