Roger Goodell ‘Lied’ About Rice Interview, ESPN’s Bill Simmons Gets Last Laugh?

Although Ray Rice is likely breathing a sigh of relief after his “indefinite” suspension from the NFL was overturned today, one ESPN sports columnist may be getting the last laugh on another matter. When the news broke that the former Baltimore Ravens player was reinstated immediately as a free agent on Friday, Think Progress reiterated Bill Simmons’ suggestion about Roger Goodell by saying the NFL commissioner lied about his interview with Rice.

The breaking news about Rice’s reinstatement took many by surprise. According to an earlier report by the Inquisitr, an arbitrator, whose decision was binding by all sides, decided Ray Rice should be reactivated back into the league without restrictions. It even means he can sign with another team ASAP.

Back in February, a tape surfaced that set the whole thing in motion. Footage of Ray Rice dragging his unconsciousness wife, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator at an Atlantic City hotel and casino prompted an investigation. Not much was known about what was behind the incident, but some sources say it was due to an alleged assault.

Commissioner Roger Goodell interviewed Rice and Palmer shortly after the tape surfaced. However, the star running back received only a two-game suspension. Later, more footage of the interior of the elevator was obtained by gossip site TMZ. It showed the disturbing moment when Rice struck his wife and knocked her out cold.

A backlash ensued shortly thereafter, which sparked ongoing discussions about domestic violence in the National Football League. At the center was Roger Goodell, who many said gave the Ravens running back too light of a punishment.

Goodell dismissed claims of his lack of fortitude in addressing player behavior off the field. And faced with growing criticism, he hit Rice with a harsh suspension, which put his future as a professional football player in question. Roger Goodell told media sources and the public that Rice was less than truthful in his statements about what transpired. Furthermore, the NFL boss said he had not viewed the footage of inside the elevator because he was having difficulty obtaining a copy after repeated requests.

Friday, a federal judge upheld Rice’s claims — and Bill Simmons’ — that he was truthful during a closed-door meeting with Commissioner Goodell on the alleged domestic violence on his wife. U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones also admonished Roger Goodell and league for the lackluster manner in investigating and adjudicating complaints on players suspected in violence off the field.

“Rice did not mislead the Commissioner at the June 16th meeting, and therefore, that the imposition of a second suspension based on the same incident and the same known facts about the incident, was arbitrary.”

Now here’s where things get interesting. Simmons, Editor-in-Chief for Grantland.com, an ESPN affiliate, struck a celebratory tone on social media Friday over the latest developments with Goodell and the Rice scandal. All things considered, Simmons took the high-road in his tweets.

Many say Bill’s suspension was unwarranted, especially since two other ESPN sports contributors suggested the same thing prior to Simmons’ remarks. On September 19, two ESPN reporters, Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg, posted coverage of the case with the headline that read, “Rice case: purposeful misdirection by team, scant investigation by NFL.” It outlined how the scandal involving Goodell and the Ravens unfolded.

Fast-forward to today, and it appears the all-things Boston superfan Bill Simmons is getting the last laugh, and Roger Goodell is facing an uphill battle in the coming days. Should the embattled commissioner step down?

[Image via: Think Progress]