RUSH: USA Today. Are you ready? “Embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continued his push to show the league is taking domestic violence and sexual assault matters seriously, announcing in a letter to teams and staff members Monday morning four women will help shape the league’s policies going forward. Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, will now be in an expanded role as vice president of social responsibility.
“The league also has retained as senior advisors Lisa Friel, the former head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office; NO MORE co-founder Jane Randel; and Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.”
Those four women are now in executive positions at the NFL to help shape league policy on domestic violence and sexual assault matters. Goodell wrote in his letter, “We are continuing to develop our organization to strengthen our ability to address the wide range of issues we face and other changes in our office will be announced soon. Our goal is to make a real difference on these and other issues. We know that we will be judged by our actions and their effectiveness.”
Joey in Austin, Texas. Great to have you on the program, Joey. How are you?
CALLER: I’m doing great. Dittos from the liberal bastion of Austin, Texas.
RUSH: Great to have you with us, Joey. Make it count.
CALLER: Okay. I hope you can hear me well. I want to know the answer to this question, and I am a longtime listener, so I think I very well do know the answer, but I’m going to ask you: Why has no one called out the prosecutor in this case as —
RUSH: You mean the Ray Rice case?
RUSH: Well, they have. No, no. The prosecutor has an answer. The prosecutor says, for all the circumstances in this case, this was not a case where the alternatives were probation or jail. Jail was not part of what was possible. Given the circumstances that people who wanted more action from the prosecutor, the law didn’t permit it. The prosecutor’s being very open about this, because people are asking and have been asking for the past number of days in a very focused way, like what you said, “You know, the real point here is prosecution, the real law. Why did the real law do nothing?” This prosecutor, his name is McClain, I think, has stepped up and said, “You people are misjudging what the alternatives in this case were.” And there wasn’t an alternative where the guy goes to jail. It’s just that simple. Use the tools that I had available to me based on the law.
RUSH: The prosecutor is a guy named James McClain, and he said that first time offenders usually aren’t prosecuted, but he did say that the alternatives, that the people out for blood, didn’t exist in his world. I forget what he said. It wasn’t a case of probation versus jail, those are the alternatives. I forget what he said, but he made it clear that he did not cavalierly dismiss the case. And we will be back. Don’t go away.
RUSH: Here’s what the prosecutor said. The prosecutor is James P. McClain. He’s the Atlantic County prosecutor dealing with the Ray Rice situation. He said, “What people need to understand, the choice was not PTI [pretrial intervention] versus five years in state prison.” See, Rice opted for an intervention program.
It’s where you agree to go into state-sponsored rehab, essentially, to get yourself fixed and do it right. You can save everybody a lot of trouble by not having to send you to jail, and if you complete the program, fine. They expunge the record and do all of that. What McClain says is, “People need to understand: The choice was not PTI versus five years’ state prison.”
“The choice was not PTI versus the No Early Release Act on a 10-year sentence. The parameters, as they existed, were: Is this a PTI case or a probation case?” So am I gonna put him on probation or am I gonna get him into pretrial intervention? “Without serious bodily injury, McClain couldn’t charge Rice with anything more than third-degree aggravated assault.
“McClain [the prosecutor] said that, in New Jersey, third-degree aggravated assault charges carry a presumption of no incarceration, even with a conviction at trial.” He responded to this because so many people are like our guy — the caller from Austin, Joey — who said, “You know, you can talk about Goodell all you want in this, but what about the prosecutor? Why didn’t they do anything to the guy?”
So McClain is answering it now. Take it as you will, believe him or not, but that’s what he said. Now, ESPN, ever on the case now… In fact! In fact! In fact! I gotta find it, but stand by starting at audio sound bite number five. Anyway, ESPN is claiming that less than 1% of domestic violence assault cases in New Jersey end with what Ray Rice got. This is pretrial intervention.
This is why people are looking at the prosecutor, Mr. McClain here, and wondering if he wasn’t star-struck and groupie-like and let Ray Rice off easy. Because ESPN claims less than 1% of domestic violence assault cases in New Jersey end with what Ray Rice got: PTI. According to ESPN, “[O]ver the past four years in New Jersey, there have been 15,029 domestic violence cases involving assault.
“A total of 70 — 0.47% — have wound up in pretrial intervention” that the prosecutors gave rice. So ESPN is claiming that Rice got a sweetheart deal, because he’s in that less than 1% — less than half a percent, actually — group of people. So the prosecutor’s coming under fire, the prosecutor’s responding, and then ESPN — the nonpolitical (ahem) sports network — is responding (paraphrased), “Well, you know, that doesn’t really jibe here.
“Because it looks to us like Ray Rice did get a sweetheart deal. Now, this is from the Boston Herald, and this is from an opinion piece thinking that the prosecutors fumbled the ball, you know, didn’t do the right thing. “‘Once they’ve made a decision to give pretrial intervention, it’s a promise from the government,’ said Joe Rem, a former New Jersey prosecutor. ‘It’s like a contract, and the government can’t start breaking its contracts.'” The government couldn’t go back on the deal once it was made.
But he didn’t have to make the deal. See, no matter what is said here, they’re still gonna come down on everybody involved, because it’s assumed that Ray Rice got away with it, until he didn’t. It’s clear that there are a lot of people who want Ray Rice in jail, think he should have been in jail, and they’re gonna take the angle that he would have been if it weren’t for sweetheart treatment and groupie-like-sports-stars-get-off-easy treatment, this kind of thing.
Now, the Boston Herald says, “There are some narrow circumstances when prosecutors can go back on their promise, but they are rare. Basically, Rice or his attorney would have had to lie about what happened, and that assumes that prosecutors didn’t already have the tape — a huge assumption,” ’cause they did have it. It doesn’t matter. Folks, this isn’t gonna go away.
No matter how much you wish it would, no matter how much you wish you could just tune in sports and see sports, this isn’t gonna go away, because now Goodell has hired four women to oversee the entire NFL policy-making apparatus on sexual abuse or spousal abuse and what have you. (interruption) The Official Program Observer, Bo Snerdley, with a question from the host.
What’s the question? (interruption) He’s appealing his suspension to the NFL. Ray Rice is essentially — and I think he’s gotta do this. He’s basically appealing on double jeopardy. He was given a two-game suspension and fined $500,000, and nothing changed in what he had done except a video showed up, and everybody was outraged by the video and a lot of pressure on the commissioner.
So here are the stages: Ray Rice is seen in a video dragging his wife unconscious out of the hotel. He goes through the New Jersey legal system and gets pretrial intervention. The NFL comes along, examines it, examines it, takes some time, gives him two games and a half million-dollar fine — which means if that had held he’d be playing this coming Sunday. (interruption) Well, Goodell does. Goodell is the…
It’s Goodell or there used to be a guy named Ray Anderson. There are a couple of people in the NFL now that are appeal judges. Art Shell is one, I think, former coach and player for the Raiders, and I forget who else. Look, I’m really speaking out of school. I don’t know that those are the guys that will hear it. But forget that for a second. The reason Rice has to do it is ’cause he’s claiming double jeopardy.
He said (summarized), “Look, I got two games,” and the Players Association, they’re the union. They’ve gotta stand up for the guy for future events like this. This is his living. “Okay, I got two games and a half million-dollar fine, and I didn’t do anything else, and now the next day I’m out of the game forever? Where the justice? The legal system didn’t put me in jail. The legal system didn’t tell me I can’t earn a living anymore.
“The legal system didn’t do anything. All of a sudden I’ve got two games. I went and I told the truth to the commissioner! I told ’em what happened in the elevator.” This is his story. “I told ’em I slugged my wife. I did not lie about it.” Ozzie Newsome, the general manager of the Ravens, said, “Yep, Ray told the commissioner the truth.” The commissioner is saying, “Weeeell, it was ambiguous what he told us. We’re not sure on some things.”
But they’re appealing because it’s essentially double jeopardy.
He’s being penalized twice for the same event. The only difference is the appearance of the second video from inside the elevator. I think as a legal matter, the players association, the union, has to appeal this, regardless the outcome. They’ve gotta make a stand on the double jeopardy aspects alone. Even though the NFL is not the legal system of the United States, the same principle still applies. I have no idea how it’s gonna turn out. I doubt he’s gonna win the appeal. I mean, in this climate, to think anybody in the NFL is gonna relent on the permanent suspension?
Snerdley, there’s nothing about fairness going on here. This is all politics now, bud. Every shred of this is politics. What’s it gonna take for people to figure this out? It’s all politics. You turn on ESPN, the NFL Network, it’s all politics now, pure and simple. So that’s why Ray Rice has appealed. People are offended at that, I gotta tell you. How dare he appeal? He should be a man and take it and be glad he’s still alive. Now he’s out there appealing this because he is claiming that he’s been deprived of ever earning a living in this business again.
I don’t know if he can sue. I mean, anybody can sue anybody. He could try. I mean, whether it gets anywhere and whether he would do it, I doubt he’s gonna do that. Look, the suspension is not permanent. It’s for a year. He could be reinstated. But if he sues ’em, he’s not gonna be. (interruption) What? No, it’s indefinite, exactly. But it’s at least this season. But there have been all kinds of indefinite suspensions that have been lifted after a year. Defensive coordinator for the Saints, Gregg Williams. The coach of the Saints, Sean Payton, every case has been different. But all of this is a sideshow to what really is happening here in the terms of the politics of this.
RUSH: By the way, a point of clarification on the Ray Rice appeal. Double jeopardy is a federal proposition. It probably does not apply here in a legal sense, but I have heard an NFL PA, players union rep, say that the reason they’re going to appeal this is that Ray Rice was punished twice for the same event and it kept getting worse when nothing changed. So double jeopardy is a federal constitutional premise, and I don’t know that the NFL even has a double jeopardy premise. You know, the NFL policy manual, the rules of the game are probably, you know, an eighth of an inch thick, and the rest of the policy is probably the Smithsonian library on criminal activity and the sanctions for it. It’s just incredible here.