During a 43-minute news conference on Friday afternoon, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted "I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter, and I'm sorry for that," while also promising "the same mistakes can never be repeated."
Goodell reiterated that the league has enlisted former FBI Director Robert Mueller to conduct an independent investigation to answer questions raised by the handling of the incident of domestic violence by Ray Rice on his future wife, Janay. Steelers President Art Rooney II and Giants Co-Owner John Mara will support and assist Mueller in gaining whatever access or resources Mueller might need.
"We all look forward to his report and findings," said Goodell about the Mueller investigation. "I promise you that any shortcomings he finds in how we dealt with the situation will lead to swift action. The same mistakes can never be repeated. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that we are thorough in our review process and that our conclusions are reliable. We will get our house in order first."
Goodell also said there would be changes made to the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy through a committee of experts brought together in conjunction with the NFL Players' Association, with the expectation of having "a set of clear and transparent rules for league and club personnel, owners and players" by the Super Bowl in February 2015.
Other issues addressed during the news conference included:
Whether Goodell would cede any power in deciding discipline in these matters in the future:
"As I said in my statement, everything is on the table. We're going to make sure that we look at every aspect of the process of how we gather information to make a decision, how we make that decision and then the appeals process. All of that is on the table and all of that is important information that we want outside experts to give us some perspective on and see if there is a better way to do it. We believe there is, and we believe we need it. We can't continue to operate like this."
On the Atlantic County prosecutor's office contending there is no record of the NFL requesting the video of Rice inside the casino elevator:
"We asked for it on several occasions, according to our security department. We went through it. We asked for it on several occasions over the spring all the way through June – from February through June. I'm confident that our people did that so that's something we'll have to discuss directly with them."
On whether Goodell considered resigning:
"I have not. I am focused on doing my job and doing it to the best of my abilities. I understand when people are critical of your performance, but we have a lot of work to do. That's my focus. We've been busy in the last couple weeks. We have results to show for it. We talked about some of that in my statement, but I'm proud of the opportunity that we have to try to make a difference here and do the right thing. We've acknowledged that we need to change what we're doing. Now we have to get to, what are those changes going to be?"
On the report by the Associated Press that it has verbal confirmation from someone in the NFL office that the video from inside the elevator had been sent to the league and viewed:
"Well that's exactly why, as I mentioned in my statement, that we hired Robert Mueller, the longest serving Director of the FBI, to make sure that that individual, Robert Mueller and his staff, they go through and they find out as many facts as they possibly can and report. He's independent (and) I don't know where he is on that. But all that information will be something that Director Mueller will be dealing with."
On the perception that Mueller's investigation could be tainted by the fact his law firm has done business in the past with the NFL:
"Yes, that firm has represented us in the past but they have also been on the other side in litigation against the NFL. So this is a highly respected individual that served as director of the FBI, the longest serving director in the history of that position. His credentials are unparalleled and unquestioned. Unfortunately we live in a world where there is a lot of litigation. There are a lot of law firms and a lot of people who maybe had some interaction with us in the past. Mueller has not. Law firms may have. But we were hiring him, and his credentials and his credibility, to do an independent investigation reporting to the owners, and I am confident that will be the case."
On whether the NFL was close to losing any sponsors over this:
"You'll have to speak to the sponsors about that. I don't believe so."