Schein on Sports: Week in review and a weekend preview (9/8-9/12)

Everything you need to know heading into the weekend in the world of sports.

Pop. Sizzle.

The story that dominated national headlines this week was the release of video by TMZ showing Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an elevator.

Prior to release of surveillance video from inside the elevator, there were already a lot of people who felt the Ravens and the NFL were far too lenient on Rice. Existing surveillance video showed Rice dragging Palmers’ unconscious body out of an elevator, with no remorse for his actions or her well being. The NFL suspended Rice for two regular season games at the time for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.

Fans also ripped the league for being merciful on Rice, while simultaneously being hard on Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for a positive marijuana test; a test that barely passed the league’s threshold, yet earned Gordon a one year ban. The NFL sent the wrong message by saying that players who fail drug tests or take performance-enhancing drugs should be punished more severely than those who assault another person. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that they didn’t get it right a couple weeks ago in a memo sent to NFL owners, and toughened penalties to first-time offenders to six games.

Once the public saw the new video, there was renewed outrage from fans, players and people associated with the league. You can clearly see how vicious the punch was that knocked out Palmer. The Ravens, who had publicly supported Rice up to that point, released him hours after the video was made public. The NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Adam Schein started out Tuesday’s show asking why it took so long for the Ravens to release Rice.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh met the media on Monday night.

Adam was not happy with the lack of outrage shown by Harbaugh during this press conference, and he makes a good point. How could anybody watched Rice knock out his fiancee and not be angry?

The league failed by not punishing Rice harshly enough in the first place. The Ravens look foolish for publicly supporting Rice. Ravens fans cheered Rice at training camp, and doubled down with their support of Rice before this past Thursday night’s game against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Its astonishing to see such a level of support for a player who was caught on tape committing such a heinous act. Harbaugh could have delivered a powerful message that this type of behavior is completely unacceptable, but his tone throughout his press conference suggested that the team only took a hard stance with Rice when their hand was forced. Instead of being proactive, the Ravens and the NFL have been nothing but reactive during this controversy.

Interview of the week

The million-dollar question with the Ray Rice controversy: Did Roger Goodell see the videotape of Rice knocking out Palmer before it was made public?

Goodell sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Norah O’Donnell of CBS This Morning and explained that to his knowledge, nobody in the league saw the video before this week.

O’Donnell joined Schein on Sports this week and said that Goodell sounded emphatic when he said he never saw the tape.

The problem is that the public’s trust has been shaken. It is tough to accept that, with all of the resources the NFL has, they couldn’t get access to this tape from the now-closed Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Goodell has claimed that the league wants to gather their information from credible sources such as law enforcement, but they’ve gotten evidence in various investigations in the past from sources who were questionable at best.

report from the Associated Press on Wednesday read that the video was indeed sent to the NFL offices in April. How is it possible that somebody in the NFL offices could have received this video and not brought it to the attention of the higher-ups? There was a voicemail from a woman who confirmed that the video was received and said, “You’re right, it’s terrible.” So somebody in the NFL not only reportedly received it, but also saw how horrible the video was.

It appears Goodell is lying through his teeth, has a complete lack of institutional control, or is participating in one of the great cover-ups in the history of sports.

When the NFL disciplined the Saints organization for BountyGate, Goodell famously told Saints head coach Sean Payton that ignorance is not an excuse. Well, ignorance is not an excuse for Goodell. He should have done his due diligence, gotten access to the tape, and given Rice a more appropriate suspension the first time around.

Now that various current and former NFL players have taken to Twitter, Goodell might have a major credibility issue going forward when it comes time to suspend the next athlete who breaks the rules.

Underrated story of the week

Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings joined Schein on Sports this week. After spending his entire career with the Packers, he signed with the Vikings as a free agent before last season. The Vikings struggled for much of last season with a rotating cast of characters at quarterback, and Jennings wound up having an average season. The team fired Leslie Frazier after the season, hired Mike Zimmer as their new coach and drafted Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the first round. (Matt Cassel was eventually named the starting quarterback for the Vikings.)

The Vikings were impressive in their Week 1 win in St. Louis, and have plenty of offensive weapons with Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Rudolph and All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson. It’s not inconceivable that the Vikings could be a surprise team in 2014. Jennings talked extensively about how things are already much different in Minnesota this season.

GIF of the week

Antonio Brown

Steelers wide receiver and punt returner Antonio Brown had the OMG moment of the early NFL games in Week 1 with this kick to the face of Browns punter Spencer Lanning. The NFL didn’t look too kindly on this, fining Brown $8,200. Brown claimed after the game that he and Lanning shared a laugh after the play, but Lanning told reporters that never happened.

Meanwhile, Lanning had to delete the Twitter app off of his cell phone after all of the extra attention he received this week for being on the receiving end of Brown’s foot.

What to watch for this weekend

Regardless of the black cloud surrounding the NFL this weekend, you and I both know that we’re going to sit on our couches, watch football, make our survivor pool picks (the pick this week is the Broncos, by the way), and check our fantasy scores somewhere between 100-200 times on Sunday. It’s Week 2 of the NFL!

You can follow Adam Schein, Nick Kostos, & Jared Moore on Twitter to keep track of the latest with the Schein on Sports crew!

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