President 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 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.
Dr. Drew says he's very concerned about Ray and Janay Rice -- telling TMZ Sports it's "good" they're staying together ... but says they're in major denial about the magnitude of what happened.
Drew says the way Ray and Janay are chalking up the elevator attack to "one bad night" is bizarre -- and it "minimizes a very serious situation."
"For them to stay together is a good thing. But for them to sort of minimize it and be in such denial about the magnitude of what happened? I mean this is a violent attack. "
Drew says he's also concerned by how quickly Ray and Janay moved on -- saying their situation usually requires a year of hard work "if they're even possibly going to reduce the risk of something horrible happening again."
Ray Rice says the disastrous news conference he and Janay held together in May was a "horrendous mistake" ... but he's pointing the finger at the Baltimore Ravens.
Ray broke his silence with Matt Lauer during a stand-up interview in his kitchen for the "Today" show ... and said of the P.R. debacle, "I made a tremendous mistake not apologizing to my wife."
Ray and Janay also took heat over the May 23rd event because Janay APOLOGIZED for her role in the elevator incident.
"When we was going in, we were given what to speak about. It wasn't truly coming from us," Ray says.
So, who told them what to say? Janay claims the Ravens "gave us a general script" going in to the news conference that day ... and Ray and Janay did what they were told thinking the team would have their back.
During the interview, Ray also told Matt he had never laid a finger on Janay before the elevator attack.
Ray says he wants to play football again, but if he can't get a job in the NFL -- Janay told Matt she's willing to go out, get a job and "be the provider."
Ray Rice has finally returned to the bar scene -- partying at a NYC nightclub for the first time since he attacked his wife at an Atlantic City casino back in February ... and TMZ Sports has the pics.
Rice hit up Bounce Sporting Club in Manhattan late Saturday night/early Sunday morning -- where he posed for pics with fans and chatted with anyone who approached him.
We're told security was trying to keep fans away from Rice -- but Ray was talking and making conversation with people anyway.
The timing is interesting ... considering Ray won his appeal on Friday -- and then hit the club right after. It feels like a celebration.
One source tells us Janay was with Ray at the club -- though we can't confirm that yet.
Everyone we spoke with says Ray was NOT drinking at Bounce.
Janay Rice says the elevator attack was all part of God's plan -- telling Matt Lauer she believes she and Ray were "chosen" to help bring awareness to domestic violence.
Janay says she believes there is a "silver lining" to the incident ... explaining, "I feel like God chose me and Ray for a reason, and it was definitely to bring awareness to what people are going through every day."
She continued ... "You know, it’s not what I am going through every day, but you know it’s definitely brought this topic to the forefront ... and we are OK with that."
Janay Rice says she's furious with the Baltimore Ravens -- telling Matt Lauer she feels completely betrayed by the NFL team for the way they hung Ray out to dry after the elevator incident.
During Part 1 of her interview with the "Today" show (which aired this morning), Janay explains that she never thought the team would turn their back on him ... and fire him ... after he was honest about what happened in February.
"The support system that I thought we had in the Ravens, that made me angry," Janay explained.
Janay also told Matt ... Ray had never hit her before the incident and hasn't laid a finger on her since.
She also says she refuses to watch the footage of the attack -- telling Matt, "I'm not going to let the public bring me back there."
With the Ray Rice sweepstakes officially underway, rapper The Game tells TMZ Sports he would LOVE to see RR on his favorite squad ... the 49ers ... but there's one big caveat.
Game -- rockin' a pretty freaky masquerade ball mask -- was leaving his birthday party at the Supper Club in Hollywood Friday night when he explained why San Fran could benefit from #27.
But while Game says he's happy to see Rice reinstated -- there are 2 big things that could get in the way of the 9ers bringing the running back to S.F.
Check out the clip.
Didn't take long for Fantasy Football owners to forgive Ray Rice -- because just hours after he was reinstated, Ray has become the MOST picked up player in Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
But now, according to Yahoo! "Transaction Trends" page, Ray has already been added to more than 168,000 fantasy teams ... the #1 added player today ... BY FAR.
In fact, the #2 guy is Vikings running back Matt Asiata who was added to 14,000 teams.
Funny thing is ... Ray hasn't been signed to a real team yet.
Clearly, 168k people think he'll find a new squad before the season ends.
Janay Rice has finally broken her silence about the ENTIRE Ray Rice elevator saga ... from the fight to the cover up to the reason she decided to NOT divorce the NFL star.
Janay spoke with ESPN on November 5th in an interview that the network agreed to hold until after the U.S. District judge issued their ruling on the NFL's actions.
In the interview, Janay says she doesn't remember what she and Ray were fighting about in Atlantic City back in February ... but says she does remember Ray got physical first.
"As we were arguing, he was on his phone and not looking at me. I went to reach for his phone, and when he grabbed it back, he spit at me and I slapped him."
On Apologizing for Her Role in the Incident at Ravens News Conference:
" I know some people disagreed with me publicly apologizing. I'm not saying that what Ray did wasn't wrong. He and I both know it was wrong. It's been made clear to him that it was wrong. But at the same time, who am I to put my hands on somebody? "
On What Ray Was Thinking After He Hit Her:
"I asked him how he felt when he saw that I was unconscious. He told me he was in shock. I asked him what happened when we got out of the elevator. He told me he was terrified because security was there. I asked him how he felt seeing me like that. He said he was thinking, "What did I just do?" I didn't watch the video again."
On What Ray and Janay told Roger Goodell:
"Ray told the commissioner, and his colleagues, everything that happened. There was no reason to lie because we knew that there was a video and we assumed the NFL knew what was in it, even though we didn't know whether or not they saw it.
On Anger at Baltimore Ravens for Cutting Ray:
"I was extremely surprised and angry that the Ravens released him, because they know him. They were our family, but I felt like the Ravens completely disregarded the past six years with him. Anytime the Ravens needed someone for a community event, Ray was their man.
On Being a Martyr for Domestic Violence:
"If it took our situation becoming headline news to show domestic violence is happening in this country, that's a positive."
Matt Lauer says his sitdown with Ray Rice's wife was "great" -- but it's clear he doesn't want to give too much away ... because he just bobbed and weaved like Muhammad Ali!
Matt was heading over to 30 Rock in NYC this morning when he acknowledged the interview was in the can.
But watch the deflection technique ... Matt knows the golden rule when it comes to promoting a big interview -- no one's gonna buy the cow if he gives away the milk for free.
Ray Rice's wife Janay is ready for her close-up ... meeting up with beauty specialists before her big "Today" show interview with Matt Lauer.
With cameras setup in her Maryland home, Janay Palmer -- the woman Ray KO'd in the elevator back in February -- invited over a local company that specializes in photo shoots to gussy her up.
The company is called Franchon Parlour -- and it does everything from wardrobe selection to hair extensions.
It's clear that Janay and Ray want it to look like the interview is all about Janay -- but our NBC sources tell us Ray is the main reason they want this interview. And, our sources say Ray WILL be participating in some way even though his people say he is not yet committed.
We're told Ray was at the home when Janay went on camera.
Matt Lauer had every opportunity to say he does not have an interview lined up with disgraced NFL star Ray Rice, but he didn't.
As TMZ Sports first reported ... NBC sources told us Lauer snagged an interview with Rice and wife Janay. Our Rice sources say nothing is set in stone for him ... that "Today" is more interested in Janay, but our NBC sources say that's not true -- Rice is the prize.
So when our photog spotted Lauer in NYC Wednesday morning and mentioned the Ray interview, Lauer said repeatedly no "announcement" had been made. Interesting.
BTW ... how cool is Matt?
Matt Lauer has won the war for Ray Rice -- booking the disgraced NFL star to appear on the "Today" show for an exclusive sit-down interview during sweeps ... TMZ Sports has learned.
It's unclear if Ray's wife Janay Rice will participate in the interview.
We're told the interview is expected to air sometime between now and Nov. 26th.
It's a huge score for NBC ... especially since Rice and Janay have been radio silent with the media ever since we published the elevator footage showing Ray KOing Janay in an Atlantic City casino.
A source connected with Rice just contacted us and said Rice has made no commitment to sit-down with "Today" and will not do anything until after the arbitration decision on his suspension is made. The source says "Today" was really only interested in Janay, not Ray. Our NBC sources dispute that and say Rice is the prize. The Rice source says they will consider the interview but only after arbitration.
Eminem is under fire over controversial lyrics in a freestyle he just released -- in which he threatens to punch Lana Del Rey in the face ... like Ray Rice.
Slim just released a new video featuring a freestyle in which he goes off on several topics -- before taking a shot at Del Rey.
Here's the verse in question ...
"I may fight for gay rights, especially if they d*ke is more of a knockout than Janay Rice."
"Play nice, bitch I'll punch Lana Del Rey in the face twice like Ray Rice in broad daylight in plain sight of elevator surveillance 'til the head is bangin' on the railin' ... then celebrate with the Ravens."
So far, Del Rey has yet to respond.
Ray Rice and his wife Janay are fully aware of the Ray Rice costumes that have been surfacing this Halloween -- and they're telling friends they're simply praying for the people mocking them.
You've seen the pics -- people dressed up as Ray dragging around an inflatable Janay in an effort to lampoon the infamous elevator attack.
We've spoken with friends and family members close to Ray and Janay who tell us ... the couple is dealing with the unwanted attention by turning to religion.
One source tells us Ray and Janay have said they are "praying for those people."
As we previously reported, Ray and Janay have been extremely involved with their church since the incident ... and were both baptized in March when they decided to become born again Christians.
We're also told Ray and Janay are still committed to the marriage -- and have vowed to maintain their family and rebuild their lives together.