By Chris WesselingThe Washington PostThe Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) The national media are once again ignoring the NFL and Ray Rice’s domestic violence incident.
But they have a new problem: They are also missing the story about how the media missed it.
As the NFL Players Association and its members filed suit against the league and the New York Jets on Friday, the NFL made the case that the media is not reporting the Rice domestic abuse story.
The league, led by President Donald Trump, argued that the league should be held accountable for the media’s failure to report the case.
“The NFLPA, the union, and its member clubs all failed to report that Ray Rice has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense,” the lawsuit said.
“As the union and its Member Clubs failed to file a timely complaint or even to conduct an investigation of this matter, the League and its Members failed to protect the integrity of its football league and its players.”
In a statement Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called the complaint “a misguided and inappropriate attempt to seek relief for Ray Rice” and called it a “dangerous and unfounded” attempt to undermine the NFL.
The NFL said it will take all necessary actions to address this matter and that the NFLPA has the right to file its own legal action.
“We take these matters seriously, and we will continue to cooperate fully with the NFL on this matter,” the league said.
The filing comes at a time when the NFL is also trying to move beyond the Rice case.
Last week, the league announced it was investigating whether the league’s own player conduct policy and player evaluation system failed to adequately protect players in the aftermath of the Ray Rice incident.
“We’ve seen the tremendous impact of the events of the last year on the players, coaches and teams who have come out of that situation,” Goodell said in a statement.
“We are committed to addressing these issues and to making the NFL more inclusive and equitable.
We will work closely with the union on these issues as well.”
In addition to the Rice lawsuit, the unions have filed a separate lawsuit in the case of another former NFL player, Adrian Peterson, accusing the NFL of violating Peterson’s civil rights.
Peterson has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge in Minnesota, and the Minnesota District Attorney’s Office said it has filed a federal civil rights complaint against the NFL, citing the domestic violence charge.
Petriell claims he was assaulted by his wife in November 2014 and said he was “frightened and afraid” when a team physician told him that he had a concussion.
Peterson said in court papers that his wife, now his ex-wife, told him he was going to die.
Petrey is expected to be sentenced this month, and Peterson has been on the commissioner’s exempt list since late August.
Goodell did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
The NFL did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The Rice lawsuit also raises questions about whether the NFL will have the resources to fight back against the media, and it could complicate the league for the long-term future of the game.
The union also filed a lawsuit in October that was a companion to the domestic abuse lawsuit.
The lawsuit accused the league of failing to protect players from a hostile media environment, including the use of Twitter and other social media to vilify and harass them.
The Associated National Press contributed to this report.