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Janay Rice

'I Have the Best Husband In the World'

1/15/2015 6:51 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
0115-ray-rice-janay-rice-instagramRay Rice went ALL OUT to spoil his wife on her birthday Wednesday -- and Janay Rice was so impressed, she bragged about having the "best husband in the world."

Sources tell TMZ Sports ... the former Baltimore Ravens star organized a day-long celebration for Janay ... with a dinner party, private celebrity chef, fancy cake and a special appearance by a former teammate. 

0115-subasset-cake-ray-rice-janay-rice-instagramThe chef is former "Hell's Kitchen" competitor JR Robinson -- who cooked up lobster, lamb chops, mussels and some special dessert for Janay's family and friends. 

Among the friends ... Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith -- whose family has remained extremely tight with the Rice's over the past year. 

After the party was over, Janay put a message on social media thanking Ray -- "I literally have the best husband in the world. He went above and beyond to make my birthday special."

As for how Ray paid for everything, he reportedly just settled a grievance with the Ravens in which he wanted more than $3.5 million for cutting him over the elevator video

No word on how much cash Rice ultimately received in the settlement -- but we're guessing it covered the party. 

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Robert Mueller

NFL Ran a Half-Ass Investigation Into Ray Rice

1/8/2015 11:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news
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Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has just released his report about his 4-month investigation into the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice situation ... and essentially says the NFL dropped the ball. 

"We concluded there was substantial information about the incident even without the in-elevator video –indicating the need for a more thorough investigation."

"The NFL should have done more with the information it had," Mueller said. 

010815_ray_rice_nogif_launchMueller also called BS on an Associated Press report which claimed a female employee received the video before it was published on TMZ Sports

"Responding to a news story that a woman at the NFL confirmed receipt of the video in the April 9 call, investigators traced every outgoing phone call from the NFL, and took several other investigative actions that are detailed in the report.

"The investigators interviewed every female employee, contractor or vendor whose electronic badge recorded that she was in the league's main office on that day. Each was asked whether they made such a call or had any knowledge about the receipt by the NFL of an in-elevator video of the Rice incident." 

0907-ray-ric-elevator-gif-launch-the-aftermath-01Mueller says his investigators spoke with more than 200 NFL employees and searched more than 400 computers but didn't find a single digital trace or sign of the in-elevator video before we published it on TMZ Sports. 

The report also says, "League investigators did not contact any of the police officers who investigated the incident, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, or the Revel to attempt to obtain or view the in-elevator video or to obtain other information."

Mueller says investigators also set up an anonymous tip line for NFL employees -- but "we received no calls."

Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement, "While this investigation has now concluded, our focus on the underlying issues and our commitment to positive change remain as strong as ever. We have all learned a great deal in the past months and expect to be judged by how we lead going forward on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault."

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Ben Affleck

Ravens Are a Nightmare

But I Believe In the Pats

1/6/2015 4:41 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
010615_ben_affleck_launchBen Affleck says the Baltimore Ravens are the absolute WORST matchup for his beloved Patriots ... telling TMZ Sports he's got a healthy fear of Joe Flacco

A pumped up Affleck (seriously, this dude is SWOLL) was leaving Tavern in Brentwood when he told us he wishes Brady and company were facing a weaker opponent this weekend (a shot at the Steelers perhaps?). 

Check out the clip ... Affleck breaks down the NFL playoffs and even tells us the teams he fears the most. 

But when push comes to shove, Ben says he believes in his boys ... though he wouldn't go as far as his BFF Matt Damon -- who predicted a Super Bowl victory earlier this week. 

Stay tuned ... 

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Baltimore Ravens Accuser

Convicted of Fraud in 2006

1/1/2015 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
1231-m-t-bank-stadium-ravens-getty-01The woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by Darren Sanders -- Director of Security for the Baltimore Ravens -- has a rap sheet which includes allegations she lied to obtain prescription drugs ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

Here's what we know ... the woman has been arrested at least 3 times since 1999 ... all three incidents involve drugs. 

But the most relevant to the Ravens' case is a 2006 plea deal -- in which she pled guilty to possession of a forged prescription. 

It's possible Sanders could use her criminal record to attack her credibility ... especially since there's a case where she was convicted of fraud. 

For his part, Sanders claims he did nothing wrong at M&T Bank Stadium on December 14th -- despite allegations he groped the woman while she was escorting him to another part of the stadium.

Ravens Head of Security

Allegations He Was Drinking At the Stadium

12/31/2014 12:34 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
1231-darren-sanders-youtube-01The woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by the Baltimore Ravens Director of Security claims Darren Sanders had been drinking before groping her at the stadium ... this according to new docs obtained by TMZ Sports. 

In court docs filed in Maryland, the accuser gives her side of the story in great detail ... and claims she first came into contact with Sanders at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 14th around 7:30 PM ... hours after the Ravens defeated the Browns. 

In the docs, the woman -- who claims she works for a company that provides custodial/janitorial services for the Ravens -- claims Sanders hit on her ... telling her she was sexy and that he liked her. 

The woman claims, "I could smell alcohol on him." 

The woman claims Sanders groped her butt multiple times -- each time she swatted his hand away.

When she told Sanders he was out of line, he allegedly responded that he "did what he wanted around here."

After the incident, the woman says she immediately contacted her boss -- who contacted police ... and they immediately launched an investigation.

Cops ultimately found there was enough evidence to book Sanders with 4th degree sexual assault.

As for Sanders, he's on paid-leave from the Ravens -- but denies any wrongdoing.

Darren's attorney just issued a statement saying he will not appeal the Ravens' decision because he doesn't want to be a distraction -- but says he's innocent and "looks forward to his day in court."

Ravens Head of Security

Alleged Sexual Assault Happened During Game

12/31/2014 9:17 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
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10:20 AM PT --
Sanders has been placed on paid leave, per the NFL's personal conduct policy ... according to team officials.

He will not travel to Pittsburgh with the Ravens for the playoff game vs. the Steelers on Saturday. 
update-grey-gray-barDarren Sanders -- the head of security for the Baltimore Ravens -- is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore during a game ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

We obtained the police report filed by a woman who claims she was working at the stadium on December 14th -- when the Ravens were playing the Browns -- and was asked to escort Sanders to another part of the building.

The woman claims while doing the escort, Sanders "hit and/or groped her buttocks more than once as they walked down the third level hallway."

The woman claims the abuse continued when they got to the 3rd floor lobby ... when he "pressed his body against her's and kissed her neck and attempted to force her to grab his penis."

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The woman says she was able to walk away -- and immediately told 4 co-workers about the incident.

Cops investigated the situation and eventually charged Sanders with a 4th degree sexual offense. Investigators say at least one witness "observed part of the interaction" between Sanders and the woman.  

Sanders lawyers are adamant -- Darren did nothing wrong. A hearing is set for Feb. 9th. 

Sanders was famously involved with the Ray Rice investigation -- he had claimed he asked police and Revel Casino security for a copy of the elevator footage ... but failed to obtain it.

NFL Star Steve Smith

My Cleat Game Is Sick!!!

12/24/2014 7:51 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
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Baltimore Ravens superstar Steve Smith Sr. pimped the hell out of his feet this season -- with at least 7 pairs of INCREDIBLE custom cleats ... and TMZ Sports has the pics. 

As we previously reported, cleat customization is all the rage in the NFL this season -- with huge stars like DeSean Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush and others going to famous sneaker artists for some added flair. 

And Smith is no exception -- tapping David Zambrano ... aka DEZ ... for several pairs of personalized kicks ... with some of the coolest designs we've ever seen. 

Dez also whipped out a pretty badass pair for Steelers linebacker James Harrison. 

As Deion Sanders once put it ... "If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good."

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Ray & Janay Rice

Handcuffed and Making Out

After Elevator Fight

12/19/2014 3:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

More ABC News Videos | ABC World News

Ray Rice and then fiancee Janay Palmer were handcuffed the night of the Atlantic City elevator fight ... and even kissed each other in an elevator as police escorted them out of the casino.

The surveillance video posted by ABC News shows cops seated with Ray and Janay at separate tables in the Revel Hotel and Casino.

About 1 minute into the video police start to walk Ray and Janay out, they put them both together in the same elevator. Remember this isn't long after Ray knocked out Janay in an elevator.

Both Ray and Janay were arrested for assault, but charges were quickly dropped against Janay.

Joe Flacco

Jabs Prez Over Name Screw Up ...

'It's Franco, not Flacco!'

12/19/2014 12:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
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Listen up, President Obama ... Joe Flacco wants to make sure you know he's never been in "127 Hours" or "Spring Breakers" ... and he's definitely not the co-star of "The Interview."

POTUS made a huge flub during his news conference Friday -- mashing up James Franco's name with Joe's -- and the Ravens QB quickly responded.

The prez was talking about the Sony cyber attack and "The Interview" ... saying, "a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James FLACCO.  I love Seth ... I love James."

Flacco razzed the president by tweeting, "@barackobama: It's James Franco, not James Flacco ;)" He also shouted out James ... welcoming him to the fam. 

Still ... imagine Franco putting on the pads to take on J.J. Watt and the Texans this weekend. THAT would be awesome.

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Ray Rice

All Is Forgiven ...

Surrounded by Fans at Kids Event

12/18/2014 9:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
1218-ray-rice-instagram-02Ray Rice is back in the good graces of many Baltimore Ravens fans ... who flocked to him last night during a Christmas charity event.

Ray and Janay Rice went to a Toys for Tots drive organized by his ex-teammate Torrey Smith -- and no one shied away from Ray as he walked around the event. In fact, he and Janay posed for several pictures with people during his first public appearance since his suspension was overturned.

Organizers say this is the 3rd consecutive year that Rice has pitched in with the charity.

He told a reporter for WJZ ... "I just made a horrible mistake in my life but you know, if they truly believe in second chances - they would forgive me "

We've said it before -- comebacks happen all the time.  
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Ray & Janay Rice

Fireball Shots & Card Games

At Surprise Party

12/16/2014 10:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
1216-ray-rice-cake-instagramRay and Janay Rice partied hard Monday night ... their friends threw them a surprise party -- complete with cake and hard booze -- to celebrate being in Baltimore for seven years. 

Janay posted a few pics from the party at their home -- looks like they played Cards Against Humanity and drank beers and a handle of Fireball. 

We don't know what Ray was drinking, but as we first reported -- he blamed the entire elevator incident on hard alcohol and told friends he was swearing off the stuff completely.

Janay captioned her pics with: "our Bmore family is seriously the best!!! We thought we were having a normal Monday night then the doorbell rang...little did we know there they were with drinks, food, games, and the most of all love & support!"

One of her hashtags was "#lovenomatterwhereweare" ... perhaps an acknowledgment that after 7 years they'll most likely be leaving Baltimore when -- and if -- Ray gets picked up by another NFL team. 

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President Obama --

RIPS ROGER GOODELL

NFL 'Behind the Curve' On Dom. Violence

12/12/2014 8:59 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news
121214_obama_cowherd_launch_v2President Barack Obama just went after Roger Goodell -- saying the NFL Commish is "winging it" when it comes to the league's disciplinary action on domestic violence. 

Obama called in to ESPN's "The Herd" and talked to Colin Cowherd about the Ray Rice situation. 

"The way it was handled also indicates that the NFL was behind the curve," Obama said ... "As a lot of institutions have been behind the curve, in sending a clear message.”

That's when Obama took aim at Goodell -- who's been under fire for being inconsistent with the punishment he's dished out to players.  

"You don’t want to be winging it when something like this happens. You want to have clear policies in place."

Obama did say there was a silver lining from the Rice situation -- "I’m so glad we got more awareness about domestic violence. Obviously, the situation that happened in the Rice family was important, but it did lift up awareness that this is a real problem that we have to root out and men have to change their attitudes and their behavior."

Roger Goodell

I Half-Assed My Job

When It Came to Ray Rice

12/11/2014 7:19 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news
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Roger Goodell ADMITTED he didn't thoroughly read NFL security reports about the Ray Rice elevator attack ... this according to new transcripts from the Rice suspension hearing. 

The transcript, obtained by ESPN, contains testimony from November when Goodell was asked about the NFL's investigation into the Rice elevator attack. 

During questioning, Goodell acknowledged that several of his officials gave him detailed security reports about the incident ... but Roger admitted he "didn't read it from start to finish" and "I didn't look at them closely."

There's more ... when asked why the NFL never made a "formal request" for the elevator footage from the Atlantic City PD, Goodell gave a bizarre answer. 

First, he argued that he didn't know what the word "formal" meant because "I am not an attorney." Then he admitted that he didn't "know the specifics" about if or how his team tried to get the video. 

The NFL's lead investigator, Jim Buckley, also gave a shocking statement -- saying when it came to the Atlantic City PD or the casino where the attack occurred, "I never contacted anyone about the tape."

As for Ray, the transcript shows he told NFL officials he "hit" Janay Palmer inside the elevator that day ... though Goodell insisted Rice said he merely "slapped" her. 

When Rice was questioned about the incident by the NFL in June, Goodell never asked a single question himself ... instead leaving the interrogating to his deputies.

The transcripts show that the Revel Casino put together it's own investigative report about the incident ... in which it details Rice "punching" Janay in the elevator

The NFL's chief investigator testified that the league never asked the casino for the report.

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