After the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice indefinitely while claiming it hadn't seen the video of the running back punching his wife in an elevator until Monday, Bryant Gumbel believes the league had to have known about the footage beforehand.
"It's hard to believe they didn't see it,'' Gumbel, the former TODAY anchor and current host of HBO's "Real Sports," told Matt Lauer Tuesday. "I think at best, the only thing you can say is they were willfully ignorant. They had to know it existed. In the discovery process, Rice's lawyer had to have the tape, so it looks as if the best thing you can say for the NFL in making this judgement was 'don't ask, don't tell.' They didn't want to see it."
Gumbel also told TODAY:
- On whether Rice and his now-wife may have told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a different version of events: "I think the league will like us to believe that, and I think we'll only know that if and when Ray Rice decides to speak."
- On whether the NFL has properly addressed the issue of domestic violence: "What the NFL does best is public relations and manage its image, and so right now they're going to go into full mode in demonizing Ray Rice with justification, but I don't see any evidence that they have turned the corner on this and really gotten the message."