Maaddi scoop on Ray Rice case wins AP Beat of the Week

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AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi

NMG member Rob Maaddi earned the AP Beat of the Week award last week for a huge scoop that shone a glaring light on the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case.Maaddi, an AP pro football writer based in Philadelphoa, broke the story that league executives long ago were sent a graphic video showing the Ravens running back decking and knocking out then-fiancee Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February.

NFL execs repeatedly denied seeing that video but said they’d seen the viral video showing Rice dragging the unconscious Palmer out of an elevator after the attack.

Maaddi had gotten a law enforcement source to secretly show him the video from inside the elevator. That person, it turned out, told Maaddi that he had previously shared the more-brutal video, sending it to the NFL in April. The source let Maaddi repeatedly listen to a voicemail confirming receipt of the DVD _ from a number at NFL headquarters.

Rice got into a pretrial diversion program, apologized to his team and fans, married his fiancee and was suspended for two games.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league execs were put under a microscope for their perceived insensitivity to domestic abuse. Some critics called for Goodell to step down.

Maaddi’s scoop spread from sports to news pages and across the Internet, generating considerable public outcry over the light penalty and the NFL’s questionable handling of the controversial case. Within hours of Maaddi’s story moving, the league said former FBI Director Robert Mueller would head an independent probe.