NFL's Goodell: I'm staying; 'We will get our house in order' on domestic violence

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Story highlights

  • Source: Police described elevator video to Ravens security head
  • Roger Goodell says he never considered resigning his post
  • Goodell says he "got it wrong" in his handling of the Ray Rice scandal
  • "We will get our house in order," he said
Embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized Friday for what he said was his mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal but vowed "now I will get it right and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish that."
Speaking at a Manhattan news conference amid calls for his resignation, Goodell announced a sweeping policy to counter domestic abuse and sexual assault, mandating all players and staff on the league's 32 teams undergo education and training about how to prevent abuse.
The announcement came as critics have questioned why Goodell hadn't taken a tougher stand earlier. That would have sent an unequivocal statement about domestic violence in a league that, according to a Sports Illustrated article last week, includes 14 players who have been arrested for violence against women in the past two years.
Others have called for his job. But Goodell, in his first public remarks in more than a week, said he would not step down and was committed to "do the right thing."
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Goodell says he won't quit
Goodell: I have not considered resigning
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Goodell vows to 'get it right' on abuse
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"I'm focused on doing my job," he told reporters. "We have a lot of work to do."
The policy is a direct response to a number of high-profile cases, including Rice's, that involve NFL players.
Even as Goodell pledged to move ahead and "get it right," questions loom in the Rice case about who knew what when, and who said what to whom.
Two security camera videos put the Rice case squarely in the public view, with the one most recently made public showing the former Baltimore Ravens' star knocking out his then-fiancee with a punch inside an elevator last February.
A source within the Ravens organization told CNN Friday that hours after that incident at the Revel hotel and casino in Atlantic City, the head of Baltimore Ravens security, Darren Sanders, spoke with Atlantic City police. In that conversation, police described in detail the inside-the-elevator video to Sanders, the source said.
ESPN reported that Sanders shared the details of that conversation and the description of the video with team executives in Baltimore.
ESPN also reported team executives -- in particular owner Steve Bisciotti, President Dick Cass, and GM Ozzie Newsome -- began extensive public and private campaigns pushing for leniency for Rice on several fronts, from the Atlantic County judicial system to Goodell.
A source in the Ravens organization told CNN that team officials never saw the elevator video until TMZ released the recording.
The Ravens issued this statement late Friday: "The ESPN.com 'Outside the Lines' article contains numerous errors, inaccuracies, false assumptions and, perhaps, misunderstandings. The Ravens will address all of these next week in Baltimore after our trip to Cleveland for Sunday's game against the Browns."
Commissioner: 'I got it wrong'
Asked Friday about a claim by the Atlantic County prosecutor's office that it has no record of an NFL request for information on the case, Goodell said, "We gather almost entirely all of our information through law enforcement, and that's something else we're going to look at ... We asked for it on several occasions. According to our security department, we went through it, we asked for it on several occasions."
The commissioner also sought to further distance himself from criticism over his handling of the Rice matter, saying the account of the incident the player gave the NFL was different than what was depicted in a video.
"I'm telling you right now it's inconsistent with what he told us," Goodell said, declining to comment further on grounds that Rice's indefinite suspension is under appeal by the players union. Goodell
Goodell said the events of recent weeks highlighted much of what is wrong with the league.
"I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter and I'm sorry for that," he said. "I'm not satisfied with the way we handled it from the get-go. I made a mistake. I'm not satisfied with the process we went through. I'm not satisfied with the conclusion."
Katie Ray-Jones, president and CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, told CNN after Goodell's remarks that the league made a multimillion dollar commitment to the hotline.
Retired quarterback criticizes NFL
"He's admitting that he made a mistake and he's working to correct it and they're engaging many voices," she said of Goodell and the league.
But NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton on CNN Friday said he was doubtful of the league's willingness to deal with domestic violence and other troubles.
"Are we going to allow men to knock out women, abuse women, knock out children and we're going to have to wait six months to get spin control and get some people in here and buy out some more people?" he said. "I played for 18 years in this league. I've seen coverups in this league just like we see in Washington and on Wall Street. And it continues."
Goodell, once viewed as a no-holds-barred enforcer who was called in to clean house, levied a mere two-game suspension against Rice, based on an initial video from outside the elevator that only showed Rice dragging Palmer out. Later, the new footage that showed the punch prompted Goodell to suspend the veteran player indefinitely.
Last week, amid mounting criticism, the league announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead an independent inquiry into the league's investigation and how it gathered evidence in the case.
NOW: Mueller appointment 'window dressing'
Goodell on Friday dismissed questions about whether Mueller's involvement with a law firm that has dealings with the league compromised the former FBI director's investigation.
The National Organization for Women called Mueller's appointment "just window dressing," saying it didn't go far enough, and repeated its call for Goodell to resign.
It's been a tumultuous week for the man at the helm of the NFL. With Ray Rice suspended indefinitely, the league saw three more of its players come under scrutiny over domestic violence or child abuse allegations. Two of those players were deactivated for their Sunday games.
Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was deactivated after an East Texas grand jury indicted him on a child abuse charge. Peterson's lawyer has said his client is innocent, and the Minnesota Vikings' owners announced that Peterson will return to practice this week and is scheduled to play Sunday.
"While I am disappointed in what Adrian Peterson was involved with, we want to see the facts," Goodell told reporters on Friday. "What we have to do is allow those facts to succeed."