crimesider

Ray Rice video: Was the NFL willfully ignorant?

Many critics are scrutinizing the NFL's handling of Ray Rice's case and their response to the jarring new video, as well as their efforts to clamp down on domestic violence in the league.

The video, which shows Rice striking and knocking out his then-fiance Janay Palmer, lead many to ask why Rice was only now cut from the Ravens, and why the video did not surface sooner.

"We already knew it was domestic violence and you know that's already bad enough, like, you know, if you're only up in arms about it just by seeing the video, that's a problem," said Ravens running back Justin Forsett.

Former Oakland Raiders CEO and CBS Sports analyst Amy Trask told CBS News, "As to why they didn't see the video sooner, I don't know that any of us know the answers relating to the video issue. And quite frankly, I'm not sure what I would find more stunning: that the league did not see the video, which would be stunning, or that the league saw the video and imposed only a two-game penalty, which would be stunning."

Others are wondering if the NFL was willfully ignorant about the video.

"Well certainly the video was available and I know many of us remarked at the time, this video is going to come out. Whether it's Deadspin or TMZ or some other place, the video is going to come back," Trask said. "Whether it was an intentional decision by the part of league to not pursue the video and engage in willful ignorance ... or whether it was a colossal, colossal mistake ... the standard really should have been, or should be, did the league see the video or should the league have been held to a standard of having seen the video?"

Trask says that while the video is shocking, it only confirms what happened.

"Arguably it shouldn't change anything, but I'm reminded of the adage that a picture paints a thousand words," Trask said. "The video is horrifying, it's heartbreaking, it's hard to watch. But does it change what we know happened, which is that an unconscious woman was dragged out of an elevator? No."

The NFL has rolled out a stricter policy that imposes a six-game suspension without pay for a first offense of sexual assault or domestic violence, and a potential lifetime ban for a second incident.

"Whether it was late or not, it is a new policy, and what we have to hope is that the league is going to enforce it in a manner that both deters this sort of behavior and educates players around the league in what actions are absolutely unacceptable," Trask said. "The league is a popular, popular league. People follow it avidly. If the league can use this now as a platform to educate people that this sort of behavior, which isn't just domestic violence, it's assault and battery, is not okay."