By John Dodge-
(CBS) — Speaking for the first time since the surveillance tape surfaced showing Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee/now-wife in an elevator, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said nobody with the league had seen the tape before Monday.
In an exclusive interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell, Goodell said the NFL assumed there was video from inside the elevator and tried to obtain it.
TMZ did obtain the video and broke the story, which led the Baltimore Ravens to terminate Rice, who was also indefinitely suspended.
“We asked for anything that’s pertinent, but we were never granted that opportunity,” Goodell said. “We had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the elevator. We assumed that there was a video.”
When O’Donnell asked the commissioner why the NFL didn’t go directly to the casino to demand the tape, Goodell said that would have been illegal.
Goodell wouldn’t rule out a return to the NFL by Rice, saying, “He would have to make sure that we are fully confident he is addressing this issue clearly, he has paid a price for the actions he has already taken.”
Goodell denies feeling that his job is on the line.
“I am used to the criticism, I am used to that, every day I have to earn my stripes,” Goodell said.
In the video, Janay Rice falls in a heap after the punch and appears to be unconscious for several minutes after Rice drags her from the elevator and leaves her lying in front of the door.
In another video that surfaced on Tuesday, Rice and and his wife can be heard shouting obscenities at each other, and she appears to spit in the face of the three-time Pro Bowl running back right before he throws a brutal punch in a video shown to The Associated Press by a law enforcement official.
The video, shown to the AP on Monday night, includes audio and is longer than the grainy TMZ Sports video released earlier that day.
Rice was originally suspended for two games and coaches and others had praised his behavior since the arrest for striking his then-fiancee in February.
The videos show Rice and Palmer in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. Each hits the other before Rice knocks Palmer off her feet and into a railing. Months ago, a TMZ video showed Rice dragging Palmer, now his wife, from the elevator at the Revel casino, which closed on Sept. 2.
The higher-quality video shown to the AP shows Rice made no attempt to cover up the incident. After Palmer collapses, he drags her out of the elevator and is met by some hotel staff. One of them can be heard saying, “She’s drunk, right?” And then, “No cops.” But Rice didn’t respond.
More from Norah O’Donnell’s invterview will be shown on CBS This Morning.