All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, September 19th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: September 19, 2014
Guest: Dave Zirin, Leigh Steinberg, Michael Lysko, Katie Ray-Jones, Dewan
Smith-Williams, Harry Carson
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST OF "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" (voice-over): Tonight
on "All In." The NFL in crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I let myself down. I let everybody else
down. And, for that, I am sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): Commissioner Roger Goodell faces the national media
for the first time since the NFL crisis began.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: I am not satisfied with the way we have handled it from the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): But, he insists he is not going anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: Mistakes happen, and I am sorry for that. And, we are going to
get this right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): And, the NFL announces a new initiative.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: We have entered into a long term partnership with the National
Domestic Violence Hotline.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): We will talk with the head of that organization.
Plus, we will look at the state of the NFL with sports agent Leigh
Steinberg. And, we will talk with the wife of an NFL player who says the
league all but ignored his abuse. And, an NFL hall of famer who admits his
own domestic violence incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY CARSON, FORMER NFL LINEBACKER PLAYER: I got to a certain level and I
reacted. I know I was out of place. I should not have done it. But I
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): "All-In" starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from Dallas/Fort Worth. I am Chris Hayes and a
blockbuster new report just hours ago from ESPN claims that the Baltimore
Ravens knew within hours, exactly, what had transpired in an Atlantic City
Casino elevator on February 15th, when running back Ray Rice knocked out
And, that the team spent months behind the scenes, attempting to keep the
tape out of public view and petition the NFL for a light sentence. This
report comes, of course, just hours after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
gave an incredibly rare, live press conference carried by every major
broadcast and cable network.
Goodell`s first press conference since the Ray Rice scandal escalated 11
days ago with the release of that video from inside the elevator. And,
today`s report from ESPN`s outside the lines in which we will get to
momentarily, often stands in direct contrast to what we have heard from
Roger Goodell and the NFL up to and including today. Today, Goodell seemed
to be pleading a version of incompetence rather than willful mouth reasons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: Over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL
doing wrong. That starts with me. I said this before, back on August
28th. And, I say it again now. I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray
And, I am sorry for that. I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the
process that I led to the decision that I reached. But, now, I will get it
right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that. The same mistakes
can never be repeated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Goodell outlines steps that would be taken including the previously
announced investigation by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, new training
programs, a partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the
National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
And, most importantly, a plan to bring together players, their union
representatives, coaches and owners and outside experts to create a new
standards and procedures on domestic violence and sexual assault. That
project to be completed by the Super Bowl. Goodell opened the floor to
questions, it was rough going. As Goodell faced a level of skepticism and
tenacity, he has probably never faced before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PRESS (1): Have you considered resigning at any point
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PRESS (1): Why do you feel like you should be able to
continue in this role?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PRESS (2): What exactly did Ray Rice tell you happened
in the elevator?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PRESS (2): Why do you think the domestic violence
crimes, such as Ray Rice, gave you such a difficult time and we not treated
as harshly as maybe some others were?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PRESS (3): Do you still believe that to the best of your
knowledge that no one in the NFL office has seen the Ray Rice video before
it surfaced on TMZ?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As of that last question, Goodell did attempt clear answers, but he
also stuck to talking points. NFL got it wrong, and it is working to get
it right. And, it was obvious even before today`s damning report from ESPN
had come out, that the Ray Rice saga will continue to dog Goodell and NFL
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PRESS (4): On the initial summons, it clearly says that
Mr. Rice struck Janay Palmer with his hand rendering her unconscious. Why
was not it enough then to put this right?
GOODELL: Well, it was. And we saw, obviously, the original video. And, it
was clear that a domestic violence -- violation had occurred. That was
clear to us. And, it was horrifying. And, that is why we took the step we
did. We did the two-game suspension and a fine of $500,000. It was not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Within hours of that press conference, ESPN is outside the lines
released a truly scathing report, which suggest not mere incompetence, but
something much worse. Reporting is based on interviews with more than 20
sources and claims to have, quote, "Found a pattern of misinformation and
misdirection employed by the Ravens and the NFL since that February night
when Rice punched his then-fianc‚e."
Again, quoting from the reporting, "The ravens also consulted frequently
with Rice`s Philadelphia Defense Attorney Michael J. Diamondstein, who in
early April have obtained a copy of the inside elevator video and told
Baltimore Ravens` President Dick Cass, "It is F-ing horrible."
For its part, the NFL, which in other player discipline cases has been able
to obtain information that has even been sealed by court order, took an
uncharacteristically passive approach when it came to gathering evidence.
Joining me now, Dave Zirin, Sports Editor at "The Nation," host of "Edge of
Sports" for Sirius XM Radio. And, Dave, what did you make of that press
DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, "THE NATION": I mean what does Roger Goodell
have to do to get fire. I mean it is unbelievable. Would he have to show
up without pants? It is unbelievable to me that he gets to stand there
and, basically, say "I am utterly incompetent. Now, stand back and
genuflect while I lead the NFL to a bright new day on the issue of domestic
There is no accountability. There is no sense that he holds himself to the
same standards that he holds players to put it mildly. All you have left
is, frankly, a shell of a Commissioner who is, basically, saying "I got it
wrong last time, but I make the owners billions and billions of dollars and
I intend to keep my job."
HAYES: There was one particularly interesting moment, I thought it was a
really revealing question where someone said, "Did you have any women you
were consulting with when you were making the Ray Rice decision?" And,
Goodell does not come out and say no, but he basically says no. We did not
have the right people in the room.
ZIRIN: Well, that is what makes the ESPN report so incredibly important,
and I hope people take the time to read it through. Because, what you see
is the way that the NFL actually does business. Not just on the issue of
domestic violence, but does business period.
It is a very cozy relationship where deals are made in Augusta National
Golf Course. Great reputation with women in August National, by the way,
where the owner of the Ravens gets to stand with Roger Goodell. And, it is
basically very circumstantially likely that they discuss the contents of
that tape out of Augusta National.
Yet, Roger Goodell and the owner of the Ravens get to skate on this and
basically act the way the National Football League has always acted on
issues of domestic violence. Going back decades, which is you sweep it
under the carpet and really reflecting a lot of the worst toxic masculinity
in the sport, itself, not just care what happens to the partners and
spouses of the NFL players.
HAYES: And, there is a dynamic that I thought was really interesting in
this entire press conference, which is that, as far as I can tell, I think
Goodell does one Q&A every year around the Super Bowl. I had one reporter
who has gone to them, who tells me that he, basically, gave him the
questions and then they read the questions to Goodell.
So, he is not used to this. And, all of the different outlets -- I mean
ESPN has multimillion dollar deals with the NFL. We saw CBS in its
broadcast, which has multimillion dollars deals with the NFL.
There are all of these broadcast partners, NBC, of course. Sunday Night
Football, which is the most watched thing on television. And you are
seeing something has changed in the posture of the media towards the league
that was just unthinkable 12 months ago.
ZIRIN: Absolutely. And, that is a credibility issue. Because if the
media is going to be listened to going forward, they need to actually
respond to what I think is happening from below in the United States, which
is a lot of people saying something really stinks here.
It is really interesting. This poll just came out that says 86 percent of
NFL fans still want to watch the game, forgetting the voracity of the poll
for a second. Look more deeply into that. That means 14 percent of the
NFL fans in the last two weeks are saying they are not going to want
ZIRIN: That is not a sport that is growing. That is a sport that is
shrinking where some of its most die hard fans are actually getting
repulsed as they are seeing how the sausages are made. The media has to
And, also, let us not forget that places like ESPN have hired some of the
best sports journalists, who have ever worked in this country. The issue
is that they have always had to cool their heels and because the NFL
partnership is what has to come first. Now, they are out there doing the
work, doing the digging and we are getting some amazing journalism as a
HAYES: And, there is an issue here I want to be clear on it. You and I
have discussed this throughout. And, the ESPN report today, and the
Goodell press conference. There are two issues here.
There are a variety of players that have been arrested in the case of Greg
Hardy and the Panthers convicted for some awful things. And, Ray Rice, who
clearly, as we all saw in the video, did something horrible. That is one
Then there is the league`s handling of it. And, one of the things I am
seeing sometimes in defense of the league, and I think -- partly, I think a
desire to defend the reputation of all the players from this idea that,
"Oh, they are all jacked up thugs" is, look, the arrest rates are actually
lower than the general population.
There are two issues here about what these players are doing and how the
league is handling it and whether the league, essentially and the teams,
engaged in cover ups to enable the further abuse of people, because they do
not want anything to come out. And, that to me, strikes me, as if there is
a scandal here, it is that.
ZIRIN: Yes. Look, the United States -- for that matter, the world has a
domestic violence issue. The NFL has a cover up issue. And, that is a
very different thing. Because what we are talking about is corporate
accountability and corporate cover ups. We are talking about people, who
are incredibly wealthy, incredibly cosseted and incredibly isolated, who
want to keep the trains moving on time.
ZIRIN: And, frankly, keep this man in his job, who has no business being
employed. Let alone making $44 million a year, heading which is laughably
the largest and most profitable nonprofit in the United States.
HAYES: Dave Zirin, always a pleasure. Thank you.
ZIRIN: Thank you.
HAYES: A fall out from NFL advertisers shows no signs of stopping.
Proctor and Gamble today withdrew from the NFL`s Breast Cancer Awareness
Campaign announcing the company will still make a plan donation to the
American Cancer Society. It just wants some distance from the NFL right
And, given the news that is still breaking around the Ray Rice scandal
seems pretty likely the league will continue to hear from concerned
sponsors. In that ESPN report out tonight, the June 16th disciplinary
meeting between Goodell-Rice and others present is described very clearly.
Quote, "With his wife sitting by his side in a conference room, Rice told
Goodell that he hit her and knocked her out according to four sources.
And, yet, today, Goodell said -- today, again, that Rice`s account to him
was inconsistent with what Goodell later saw in the elevator video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: I am telling you right now that it is inconsistent with what he
told us, what we saw on that video when I came out roughly ten days ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, a man who has been called the greatest sports agent
in history, Leigh Steinberg. If you have ever seen the movie Jerry
McGuire, he is the man that Tom Cruise`s character is based on. Leigh, it
does not -- I mean I did do the reporting, myself. You got four sources.
It is possible there is some misinterpretation. But given the sort of
universe of facts we have, it really looks like Goodell is, if not lying,
shaving the truth about what he knew about what happened that night,.
Particularly, when there is a police report that basically spells it out.
LEIGH STEINBERG, AMERICAN SPORTS AGENT: I think he had all the facts he
needed, just by the police report and by whatever Rice told him. To go
ahead and act dynamically at the time, he disciplined Rice in the first
place. He could have made a dynamic statement. The reason why this is so
sad is that the NFL symbolically is the most popular sport in this country.
And, notwithstanding everything you have covered, seven of the seven top-
rated television shows last week were NFL football. Mostly nighttime
football. It is dominating entertainment in this country. And, fans are
bifurcating their horror at domestic violence in the way it has been
And, they are still attending games in record numbers. They are
compartmentalizing their reaction to it. This sport has a golden
opportunity here to lead the fight against domestic violence.
I had Lennox Lewis, who is a heavy weight boxing champion, cut a public
service announcement that said, "Real men do not hit women." And, these
players have a great impact especially on young teens, so they could be
leading the fight that way.
So, symbolically, they could be leading the way and instead, what we are
showing here is a very bad example. So, the reason that Goodell`s job is
not in jeopardy is this is the same man who negotiated a collective
bargaining agreement that actually drops player costs.
This is the same man who has produced an environment where Jerry Jones
franchise is worth $3.4 billion; same man who negotiated a concussion
settlement where they do not admit liability. He is golden to the owners.
But, this has not been anything but a disaster from the start.
HAYES: Have you ever seen this much scrutiny, this much disarray, around
this league, which has had an incredible decade, an incredible ten years
from the perspective of its business, its ratings and its revenue.
STEINBERG: I have been representing athletes and trying to work with role
models for 40 years. I have never seen anything like this. Part of it is
because this is not the same press that used to be wined and dined. This
is a new investigative press and much more of it.
Part of it is because some of the statements that are being made are being
made as if no one is keeping track and no one is remembering what was said
in a prior way. So, for example, Ozzie Newsome came out and said, "Ray
Rice told us everything, initially, that was on the second tape." So, even
though these revelations made by ESPN, Ozzie Newsome already said that he
told them everything. And, that this environment --
HAYES: And, that was --
STEINBERG: -- In this environment, which is very akin to what I remember
much younger which is Watergate, there is tremendous scrutiny being done.
Roger Goodell started that press conference today in a very impressive way.
But, what I thought he was going to do is to say in essence, "I find myself
for my conduct. And, I am going to give $250,000 and split it between the
HAYES: Leigh Steinberg might want you as an advisor as they continue to
manage this. Thank you very much. You have heard of 501c3 nonprofit. It
is like the ACLU Foundation, the American Red Cross and the ASPCA. Guess
what other organization is also on that list? The answer, ahead.
HAYES: Question from today. Is the NFL`s new partnership with the
National Domestic Violence Hotline, a PR stunt? Or will it actually help
survivors of abuse. I am going to ask the hotline`s President ahead.
HAYES: You probably heard the phrase 501c3 nonprofit, right? If you have
not, it refers to the section of the tax code 501 that guides nonprofit
organizations, meaning they are exempt from federal income taxes. And,
there are a bunch of these sections. The most common being 501c3, but
there is also 501c4 and c5, and c6.
And, if you go to 501c6 on irs.gov, in addition to providing tax exemptions
to business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards and boards of
trade, you will see a pretty strange item in there. Professional football
leagues, in the plural.
That rather obscure little phrase was added by lobbyist to the tax code in
1966 when a deal was struck that would allow the NFL and the AFL, the other
professional football league in the U.S. at the time, to merge. This
insertion has undoubtedly saved the NFL millions in tax obligations since
Now, with the fall out from the abuse scandals facing NFL, Democratic
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey has introduced a bill that would disallow
the NFL from claiming status as a tax exempt nonprofit. And, part of the
reason for this is that the NFL has never brought in more money ever.
In 1989, total revenue for the league was $943 million. In 2012, that
league revenue was $9.5 billion, which put NFL revenue at nearly 25 percent
more than the next professional sports league here in the United States,
Major League Baseball.
It is true that nonprofit status only applies to the league`s office and
not the individual teams themselves, which are for profit and, under the
law, have to pay taxes. And to be clear, the NFL funnels much of its
revenue to those 32 teams.
But, also to be clear, it is the tax exempt NFL office and not the teams
that handle those lucrative T.V. contracts. What are those deals worth?
In 2011, the NFL announced a nine-year extension of its deal with Fox, CBS,
and NBC worth almost $20 billion combined for the teams and the league.
And, it is deals like that that are the source of much of Roger Goodell`s
Joining me now is someone who used to run the other North American Football
League, Michael Lysko, Former Commissioner of the Canadian Football League.
He is now director of Sports Management and professor at Southern Methodist
University right here in Dallas. It is great to see you.
MICHAEL LYSKO, FMR. CAFL COMMISSIONER: Nice to see you, Chris.
HAYES: First, I want to get your reaction to that press conference as
someone who ran a football league, for someone who worked with the National
Football League, you guys had all kinds of institutional affiliations.
HAYES: What did you make of that?
LYSKO: It was just -- it seemed to be driven by lawyers and PRS person
behind the scenes. And, from what I have seen subsequent to the press
conference, they really did not accomplish much of what they wanted to
accomplish, aside from just punching the ball down the road.
LYSKO: Hoping to sort of buy them more time to hope of find its way under
the new cycle. And, you know, I think that is -- they had to do something
seven days or eight days out of the spotlight. He had to say something.
So, it is royal commissions and more investigations and all sorts of things
that give him enough cover for due process.
HAYES: Space. Space.
LYSKO: You know -- So, whenever he was asked a question, he usually does
not answer the question. Anytime he was asked a specific question, he did
not answer. I was really surprised, the one thing that really shocked me,
quite frankly. And, this is before I knew what happened with the OTL.
HAYES: Right. The piece that you were just referenced with.
LYSKO: That he just referenced. He double downed on the notion that there
was inconsistencies with Ray Rice`s accounting of what took place. So, he
is lying or the Ravens are lying.
HAYES: Or a lot of reporters are getting lied to by a lot of resources. I
mean that is one very clear --
HAYES: -- And, part of the reason that that story is so key to this entire
trajectory of this, is that the two-game suspension, which he said, "Well,
that was a mistake and here is the new policy." And, then when the video
tape came out, they said, "We are kicking him out of the league."
People said, "What is the difference. You kind of knew this." And, then
he had to say or he says, "Well, there is a difference. There is a
difference between what was communicated to me in the video," and he is
sticking with that story.
LYSKO: Well, there are couple problems with that position. We have
several reporters including some very well-known reporters, who talked to
the officials in July and knew exactly what happened.
LYSKO: And, the second part is, so he disparages, you know, our sources --
our tapes from -- I do not know how TMZ got that tape, but we get ours from
law enforcement. The very tape he used to issue that indefinite suspension
was from TMZ, itself.
LYSKO: So, forget about that sort of situation. The real challenge for
him is that, quite aside from the fact he should have pursued the tape and
he is suggesting that he did and there is lots of people saying he has to
if he wanted to. He is now in a position where he made the decision either
with the tape or with knowledge of the tape.
I think anything short of us watching the tape, with him watching the tape,
you know, in his mind, I am just wondering, what do you think happened --
do you think she slipped and fell? I mean, that is what is so absurd. He
must have found out that things were on the horizon where somebody else had
a copy of the tape. He came with a six games --
HAYES: Two games. Two games. Right.
LYSKO: He came back with the six games and the whole thing.
HAYES: The new policy right now.
LYSKO: But, then he came back with the indefinite suspension after the Ray
Rice tape -- the second tape came out. Here is the problem with that. The
TA now has a fiduciary responsibility to say, hold on --
HAYES: To appeal and to fight. And, he has now declared essentially open
war on Ray Rice. And, one of the things reading between the lines in that
ESPN article is that Ray Rice`s people are declaring open war against him,
LYSKO: Yes. Correct.
HAYES: Because now you have a situation. So, tell me this, why is it --
you are talking about why he is staying and the amount of money. What is
it that has transformed this league into such a financial juggernaut? I
mean when I was growing up, I feel like there was a closer parody between
Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, NFL and the NFL had
just shot ahead all of them in these -- in madden football which has its
own billion dollar industry, fantasy football, which has its own billion
dollar industry. Why has that happened?
LYSKO: Well, there is a lot of reasons. I mean you had scarcity. You
have some smart people who said let is have destination programming. So,
Monday Night Football. When is it on? Monday nights.
LYSKO: Sunday football. They ended up having a space that nobody else
could occupy. And, while the other leagues are coming around -- NFL did a
lot of good things in terms of using television to its advantage.
HAYES: Yes. They figured out television more than anyone else.
LYSKO: Absolutely right.
HAYES: And, you are seeing the benefits in that in the revenue. And, that
is why Roger Goodell is right now, fine, probably, to his team owners
because he is the one who has overseen this tremendous revenue.
LYSKO: He has been there. I would make the case that, you know, book
kills in Vegas are as responsible for the popularity of the NFL than as
much as anyone in the NFL.
HAYES: That is a very good point. Was Roger Goodell just happened to be
there at the right time?
LYSKO: He has been there a long time. You know, he is in the great shape
with the owners. His first job there was as a driver to Pete Rosel.
HAYES: Yes. So, it is the only thing he has ever worked in since he got
out of college.
LYSKO: Yes. That is what we know about how things have taken place. But,
over time, you see the team values have risen significantly more than a
HAYES: And, that is why he is -- he is in fairly good standing. Michael
Lysko, thank you so much.
LYSKO: You are very welcome. I appreciate it.
HAYES: Beside the NFL`s botched response to acts of domestic violence
committed by their players, there is another great example that illustrates
what their priorities are when it comes to women. And, you see it every
single game day. I will tell you what it is, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST OF "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES": The first time I
took my 2-year-old daughter to a foot ball game, she was intensely aware in
the way young children are of the gender breakdown on the field. Looking
at all the helmeted players, she kept asking me. "Are they women?" "No,"
I said. "Those are all men."
She did identify the one group of women on the field, which was, of course,
the cheerleaders. Professional football may be an entirely male
enterprise, but there are a few women out there on the field. They are
there to show team spirit and to wear outfits that look like this -- and
And, guess how the NFL treats the women who cheer for their teams? Well,
here is a snapshot of how one team, the Buffalo Bills, goes about it.
According to a document obtained by Deadspin, there are a lot of rules
about the right way to be a Buffalo Jill, as the team cheerleaders`
Among the instructions in the 12-page handbook regarding behavior and
etiquette, quote, "Do not be overly opinionated about anything. Do not
complain about anything. Ever hang out with a whiner? It is exhausting
and boring." There are some incredibly specific rules governing personal
hygiene including, quote, "Intimate areas." Never use a deodorant or
chemically-enhanced product. Simple non-deodorant soap will help maintain
the right ph balance.
Handbook even instructs the women how to correctly use a tampon. For
submitting themselves to this madman error regime of opinionless
femininity, you would think these women would be pretty well compensated,
right? What if I told you they make less than minimum wage? Wait, you say
how can that be legal? The minimum wage is the literally the legal minimum
you can pay someone for a job.
Well, the Buffalo Bills found a way by classifying the cheer leaders as
independent contractors, which allow the team to pay them between $105 and
$1800 a season, working 20 unpaid hours for week for 2 weeks a year. That
is all according to a class action lawsuit filed last spring by five
Buffalo cheerleaders, who are suing the team and the companies that managed
the squad for wage theft.
And, in July, a New York State judge ruled against the bill`s motion to
dismiss it, finding that the, quote, "Minute control exerted over the women
qualified them as not as independent contractors, but in fact full pledged
Whatever the legal matters here, near fairly complicated, The NFL brought
in almost $10 billion in revenue last year, but Roger Goodell himself made
$44 million. I think the league can afford to pay its cheer leaders a
living wage. And, the fact they do not says a lot about its priorities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When we started
the fight 20 years ago, I, along with many of you, was accused of engaging
in an effort to break up the American family. Because violence against
women was a domestic issue, in the literal sense. It was a family issue.
That is what we were told.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Obama Administration today commemorated the 20th anniversary in
the Violence Against Women Act, crafted by Joe Biden when he was Senator
and signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. Legislation changed the
way the criminal justice system responds to domestic violence including
services and protections for victims and significantly increasing rates of
It also helped to change the way we perceived domestic violence. And,
according to the justice department, the rate of intimate partner violence
dropped 64 percent in the first 16 years after the law passed. White House
commemoration comes on the same day Roger Goodell gave his news conference
to announce new steps by the NFL to combat domestic violence.
And, if there is a link between the two, it is personified in this woman.
Cynthia Hogan, a Biden aid, who helped him write the Violence Against Woman
Act and who has just been hired amidst the scandal to go work for the NFL;
part of the League`s attempt to clean up its now tarnished reputation.
And, now, as of today, the NFL signed on to a major partnership with a
national domestic hotline. A nonprofit, originally created through the
Violence Against Women Act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: The hotline received an 84 percent
increase in a call volume just last week. They did not have the resources
to reach half of those calls. They need our help, and we are providing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Katie Ray-Jones. She is president and CEO of the
National Domestic Violence Hotline. So, how did this whole thing come
about? Did the NFL call you up on your cell phone at some point and say,
"Look, we want to talk?"
KATIE RAY-JONES, PRES. & CEO, NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: You
almost had it exactly right. It did kind of happen that way, actually. We
were approached by the NFL several days ago, when they became aware of the
84 percent increase in call volume to the National Domestic Violence
Hotline, as well as the fact that we were unable to answer 50 percent of
those who were trying to reach us due to a lack of resources.
When we were able to communicate to the NFL what our needs were and that we
have always had needs, historically, ever since the hotline first took its
call back in 1996, we have historically been under resourced. So, we were
very clear about our needs.
HAYES: The most cynical way to interpret this and I am not saying it is
necessarily my interpretation, but the most cynical interpretation is this
is essentially an attempt to use your very-needed service and your
reputation to launder their own reputation to essentially co-opt you. Do
you have concerns about that?
RAY-JONES: No, because what we have focused on every single day are the
women and men who contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Last
year, we were unable to serve 77,000 men and women. And that, for me, is
the most heartbreaking part of working with the National Domestic Hotline
is knowing that there are men and women who make that first call for help
and no one can answer it.
So, for us at the hotline, yesterday, being able to show the news with
staff, people were in tears knowing that we are finally going to be able to
reach men and women, who make that courageous call for help and someone
will be at the other end of the line.
HAYES: If you had been the person giving Roger Goodell advice today about
having that press conference, what advice would you given him about how to
talk about this issue in a way that maybe demonstrated a kind of level of
empathy with survivors that some of the critics watching it felt was
RAY-JONES: Well, I think the media is doing a great job of asking all the
right questions and challenging not only Goodell, but the rest of other
companies across America about how do we support victims and survivors, as
well as abusers who may be reaching out and having conversations about
For us, at the hotline, we always want people to know that there are
options, that there is hope. That is what we are trying to communicate.
We want women and men across this country to know that there are resources
out there and we want people to get help. And, I think that is what we are
really helping the NFL continues to do and use their platform to be able to
increase awareness about the resources that exist.
HAYES: So, the Violence Against Women Act, a real seat change in policy.
I trickled down the local level. Lots of policy has changed. There were
mandatory arrest policies in some municipalities, much higher rates of
prosecution. There was also a bunch sort of services that are funded
through the act for survivors. What has to happen now? What is the next
frontier to further drive down what is still a too high rate of intimate
partner in violence?
RAY-JONES: I think we need not only the NFL, but other companies,
communities in general to connect to the local programs and realize that
they are under resourced. We have never been in a place as a field of
domestic violence where we have had, you know, empty beds just waiting to
be filled or people not waiting for services.
We need those resources. We need them to continue to come in. We also
need people to understand the issue. That is what has been, you know, an
amazing opportunity this last week and a half is to be able to talk about
the complexities of the issue and why it is so difficult for a woman to
leave a violent relationship.
HAYES: Yes. I would like you to talk more about that. I have people that
are very close to me that worked in domestic violence with folks, who are
being abused and in the court system. And, I learned through them of some
of the complexities. Are there are things you think that people who have
not been exposed to it are not getting do not get that is crucial for them
to understand in this kind of teachable moment?
RAY-JONES: That is what I mean. People definitely underestimate the
amount of fear that is present in the relationship and how an abusive
partner works to take away an individual`s self esteem, their self worth.
And, they really internalize a lot of the blame in the relationship and
take responsibility for the violence, because that is what the abusive
partner is telling them.
So, it is really important that people realize a lot of threats are being
made in that relationship. And, we know from what we see in social media
and in the press that those threats can indeed be real. We hear about
women being killed and children being killed. Now, we are seeing a video
from an elevator of a woman being assaulted. These threats are definitely
real. And, so, victims know that those threats have the potential to cause
serious harm to them, possibly their children, possibly end in death.
HAYES: Katie Ray-Jones, thank you so much.
RAY-JONES: Thank you.
HAYES: During the past few weeks, we have been able to get a little
glimpse into what happens in some NFL players off the field, two people. A
former player who has admitted to being involved in a domestic incident and
an abused survivor will be here to share their personal stories, ahead.
HAYES: Two personal stories from the NFL. One from the perpetrator of an
act of domestic violence. One from a survivor, next.
HAYES: Scandals that have engulfed the NFL have given Americans a better
sense of the ugliness that can occur among the professional football
players away from the field. But, the stories of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson
and the other players making headlines offer just a small glimpse in the
whole universe of NFL players and the people who surround them.
Eventually, the story of two people who have lived inside that universe.
One of them is Harry Carson. He is a linebacker who played his entire
career with New York Giants, who retired in 988. He was elected the hall
of fame in 2006. Carson was one of the first players to talk with the
long-term consequences of the concussions he suffered during his playing
He says on going headaches, blurred vision sometimes made it difficult to
think or even speak clearly. Earlier today on this network, Carson
revealed he was in a physical confrontation with his significant other,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY CARSON, FORMER NFL LINEBACKER PLAYER: It was something that was not
planned. I reacted. In my training as a linebacker, I am trained to make
decisions within a split second. And, the decision that I made at that
time was much like playing football. I got to a certain level and I
reacted. And, I know I was out of place. I should not have done it. But
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The other story I want to tell you belongs to Dewan Smith-Williams.
She remains married to former NFL Lineman, Wally Williams, who played with
the New Orleans Saints and two other teams from 1993 through 2003.
Dewan Smith-Williams says that while Wally Williams was with the Saints, he
started hitting walls and doors with a baseball bat, which prompted her to
call his NFL liaison out of fear. The liaison she says told her not to
call the police and they did not follow up with her despite a promise to do
Maybe wondering why Dewan Smith-Williams did not just go straight to the
police. She says that years earlier, when her husband tried to choke her,
she did call the local police, but they just stood there chatted about
football and the draft and persuaded her not to file a report. Wally
Williams disputes his wife`s account while she and Harry Carson will join
me just ahead.
HAYES: We are back and joining me now is Dewan Smith-Williams and Harry
Carson. And, Mr. Carson I want to talk with you. I was wrapped by the
interview that you gave this morning. Obviously, it is a painful and
difficult thing to talk about an incident you had with a significant other.
And, I wonder if you could just -- for people who did not see that, say
CARSON: Well, you know, over my football career, I have really taken great
pride in just being a gentleman and conducting myself the way that I was
expected to conduct myself. I had great coaches who instilled certain
values in me.
And, you know, I was one of those guys, who said I would never hit a woman.
I would never even raise my hand to a woman until I got into a situation
where we got into an argument. It started to escalate. And, as a result
of the escalation, both of us sort of came to blows, and it did not last
It was five or ten seconds, but, you know, those five or ten seconds or
moments of my life that I always regret. Because I recognize from that
point forward that that was not the person that I should be with. That I
allowed my buttons to be pushed and I did not control my own impulses to
just turn and walk away.
And so, you know, as a football player, you have to understand what your
weaknesses are and your strengths are. And, my weakness at that point was
to be with that person. And, so I had to move on, I had to separate
HAYES: Did anything like that ever happen again?
CARSON: No. It never really happened again with her or any other female
that I have been involved with. I think what I did was I allowed myself to
be drawn into an argument. And, I am one of those people that I allow --
you know, everything to just roll off of my back and just take it in stride
and not be agitated in any way.
HAYES: Did you --
CARSON: But, if you are a football player, you have a tendency to -- I
mean, you have to be aggressive. You have been taught to be aggressive.
And, sometimes when you are confronted, you do not back down and you move
forward. And, I think that is the thing that happened with me. I should
have backed down. I should have turned and walked away, but I did not.
HAYES: Dewan, I want you to talk about the first incident. And, I should
say that your husband, Wally, who you are still married to, disputes you
are account. He said to a reporter that you are essentially trying to get
attention. He is not here, so I want to just -- that is his contention.
Will you tell me about the first incident when the police -- when you did
call the police?
DEWAN SMITH-WILLIAMS, WALLY WILLIAMS` WIFE: The very first incident when
the police were called, Wally and I, again, had -- we had been arguing.
And, it was always about whether or not he should be going out or whether
or not he is going to be doing high-risk behaviors and the activities when
he goes out.
And, when the police were called, mostly our arguments were entailed with
Wally and I getting in each other`s faces and then me smarting off, saying
something smart and then him grabbing me and that escalated into him
choking. And, when the police were called, they would come in and they
would separate us.
And, you know, ask what had happened. And, once I would say my side, once
they would start to talk to Wally, the conversation would always go to, you
know, to whether or not they had a good game the previous week or who was
going to be good in the draft. So, the conversation was quickly diverted
And by the time we got back to addressing while the police were at my home,
I was always talked down or coward into not reporting or not following
through with the report because it would not make for good press for the
team nor for Wally. People have to understand that during my situation,
Wally had other situations, personally, that he was dealing with. That he
did not need any additional bad press. And, so that, also, you know, aided
me and prevented me from, you know, pressing charges or moving forward with
HAYES: So, tell me about this incident in which he was swinging a baseball
bat or you say he was swinging a baseball bat. And, you called your NFL
liaison or his NFL liaison. What does that term mean?
SMITH-WILLIAMS: Well, at the time, Wally was in the drug diversion program
with the NFL. Meaning that he had been suspended, he had had the maximum
fines and, at this point, if he were to have another dirty urine, then he
would be suspended for a year from the NFL.
So, this person was put in place as a contact person to myself and to
Wally, so that if we were to go out of town, it was a person that we were
to contact wherever we were going or where we would be, so that if Wally
had to do a urine drug screen, they would be able to contact us and come
out and collect the urine.
So, yes, that was the person that I contacted. And, we were arguing about
specifically Wally`s substance abuse issue that he was having with his job.
And, the argument escalated to me, you know, basically stating that I was
going to call the NFL to let them know what was going on in the house.
I was going to call the police and, you know, he went and got the bat. He
went in the garage and, as I stated before, there is a perfect circle on my
house at 2243 Folker Dr. of the garage door where he took the baseball bat
and literally was pounding it into the door. So, there is a perfect circle
there. He proceeded to break the lock, come through the house. Hit the
chairs. Hit the walls. I mean he was sweating. He was like a crazed man.
And, so at that point, that is when I removed myself and went to the room.
And, I contacted the liaison. Specifically, to give him a descriptive of
what was exactly going on in our home. And, that is when he told me that,
you know, that there was no need to call the police. That they were going
to handle it. That they would make sure that they contacted me. That if
Wally were to leave or try to leave, not to get in his way or stop him from
leaving, but to allow limb to leave and keep myself safe.
HAYES: Mr. Carson, in your years in the league, was domestic violence
something anyone talked about? Obviously, players have significant others,
wives, sometimes girlfriends and wives. There is a lot of, my specious,
professional sports locker rooms, there is a lot of secrecy a around the
romantic life of players. Was it something anyone discussed?
CARSON: No, you really did not talk a whole lot about it. There are
certain guys who were close to one another and they knew what might have
been happening with an individual at home. But, it was not really for team
consumption or public consumption.
You know, as a captain, ironically, myself, George Martin, the other
captain with the Giants, you know, we would find ways if a player was
having problems. If there were marital problems, you know, we would
intercede and try to help as much as possible and guide them -- guide our
players in the right direction. But, no, it was not something that was
really talked about.
SMITH-WILLIAMS: In my situation, we called that pillow talk. You know?
And, if words got back to the locker room with what was going on within our
household, then that could sometimes escalate the arguing into our home
because we were letting the things that were happening at home in our home
outside of the home. So that was something a lot of people --
HAYES: Dewan Smith-Williams and Harry Carson, thank you very much. I
really appreciate, both of you.
HAYES: That is "All In" for this evening. "The Rachel Maddow Show" starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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