In Roger Goodell's increasingly frantic attempts to stall his precipitous fall out of public favor, he's latched onto one primary handhold: his claim that Ray Rice misled him about what happened in that casino elevator on Feb. 15. That ledge is beginning to crumble.
A recent report by the New York Daily News claims that Rice, believing that Goodell had already seen the now-infamous second video of him knocking his then-fiancee unconscious, gave the commissioner a truthful and thorough account of the incident during a June 16 meeting.
"Ray owned it from day one," one source told the Daily News. "He went in as if (the tape) existed. Everyone knew it existed. He knew if the commissioner hadn't already seen it, he would see it."
That's a steep departure from Goodell's claim that Rice's account was "inconsistent" with what security footage from within the elevator later showed, a claim he reiterated last Friday during a widely-criticized press conference. Goodell claims that Rice's initial two-game suspension, which was skewered as a relative slap on the wrist, was based off misleading statements from Rice. The suspension was changed to an indefinite ban after TMZ published the second video on Sept. 8.
The Daily News report comes two weeks after ESPN's "Outside the Lines" first cited four sources claiming that Rice was honest with Goodell.
"Ray didn't lie to the commissioner," one source reportedly familiar with the meeting told OTL. "He told the full truth to Goodell -- he made it clear he had hit her, and he told Goodell he was sorry and that it wouldn't happen again."
Shortly after Goodell's press conference last Friday, "Outside the Lines" released a more extensive report claiming that the Baltimore Ravens were given a detailed description of the second tape within hours of the February arrest.
Rice has appealed the indefinite suspension, and Goodell will appear as a necessary witness, the Daily News reports. That means he'll have an opportunity to testify to his own side of the story. So far, he has not gone into detail on how exactly Rice's version of the incident differed from the security footage.