Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D. NY) had some harsh words today towards NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Goodell's handling of the domestic violence case regarding former Baltimore Ravens' running back Ray Rice:
Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the league after a video surfaced last week showing him punching his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer.
"I think the way the NFL handled this was awful. It was outrageous," Gillibrand said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "They had all the facts they needed. They had a player who admitted to beating his wife. They had video of him dragging her out an elevator. There was nothing left to determine. That player should've been fired immediately."
Gillibrand is one of 16 female senators who wrote to Goodell last week saying the NFL needs a "zero-tolerance" policy for players who commit violent acts against women.
"We were shocked and disgusted by the images we saw this week of one of your players violently assaulting his now-wife and knocking her unconscious, and at new reports that the NFL may have received this video months ago," the senators wrote in the letter. "Tragically, this is not the only case of an NFL player allegedly assaulting a woman even within the last year."
Asked whether Gillibrand believes that Goodell should step down, she said she initially wanted him to "lead the reform to actually create and enforce a zero-tolerance policy."
"But, given the recent debate, you know, if he lied, if he lied to the American people, then he has to step down because he won't have the force of authority to change how they address these issues," Gillibrand said.
Goodell claims the NFL had never seen the video of Rice punching his wife, even though they had seen an earlier tape of him dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. But law enforcement officials he sent the video to the league five months ago. Gillibrand warned the NFL that if they don't start policing themselves, Congress will have to take a look into the matter. Beyond the Rice incident, Gillibrand said there is a broader issue of "chronic institutional support, whether it's the NFL, whether it's the U.S. military, whether it's the college campus, where the institution gathers and surrounds their star player, their golden boy, whomever it may be, without any regard for the victim and survivors."