Return to Transcripts main page


NFL Chief Says New Ray Rice Video Is Sickening; Obama to Lawmakers: I Have Authority to Strike ISIS

Aired September 9, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Breaking news tonight in the Ray Rice story. NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, trying finally to answer the question that so many people have to ask. The league's claim that yesterday was the very first time they or the Baltimore Ravens saw this video. Rice beating his wife -- his girlfriend, at that point his fiancee -- senseless.

Mainly how on earth is that possible? It happened at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. One with state-of-the-art surveillance. The casino says it gave the video of the local police, the county prosecutors, state gaming officials, and Rice's attorney.

It could not confirm whether the NFL asked for a copy. The league says it asked law enforcement for any information including video but did not get it.

And late today, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said this to CBS "This Morning's" Norah O'Donnell.


NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS' "THIS MORNING": How is it that the NFL couldn't get their hands on a second tape but a Web site called TMZ could?

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: Well, I don't know how TMZ or any other Web site gets their information. We are particularly reliant on law enforcement as the most reliable. It's the most credible. And we don't seek to get that information from sources that are not credible.

O'DONNELL: The question becomes, did the NFL drop the ball or was the NFL willfully ignorant about what was on this tape?

GOODELL: Well, we certainly didn't know what was on the tape. But we have been very opened and honest and I have also, from two weeks ago when I acknowledged that we didn't get this right. That's my responsibility and I'm accountable for that.

O'DONNELL: But what changed? I mean, on the first tape she was lying unconscious on the ground, being dragged out. Did you really need to see a videotape of Ray Rice punching her in the face to make this decision?

GOODELL: No. We certainly didn't, and I would tell you that what we saw on the first videotape was troubling to us in it of itself. But what we saw yesterday was extremely clear, it was extremely graphic and it was sickening.


COOPER: Surprising he said we didn't know what was on the tape when obviously -- it's pretty obvious what was on the tape.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tonight, which is just far from the only big development. Nike cut ties with Ray Rice. Grabbed all Rice items from their Web store. In Baltimore, local merchants have launched a kind of buy-back program to get Rice jerseys off the street.

Also Rice and his wife are speaking out. She lashing out at the media online on Instagram. Quote, "This is our life. Why don't you all get? If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels."

Got a very full night ahead and because things are moving very quickly in the story, we asked Miguel Marquez to start up with a timeline of how we got here.


GOODELL: You know, I take into account all the information before I make a decision on what the discipline will be.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was August 1st. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explaining the reason he gave Ray Rice only a two-game suspension considered by many too light after TMZ published a video in February of Rice carelessly dragging his then-fiancee Janay Palmer from an Atlantic City casino elevator after he hit her.

CHARLES LATIBEAUDIERE, TMZ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: When we first posted the video that was from outside of the elevator when you see Ray Rice taking Janay at -- dragging her out of the elevator, the first question -- popped in everybody's mind, every human being who saw the video is, you have to know what happened inside, what led up to that scene of him dragging her out. And why would Roger Goodell be any different.

MARQUEZ: The second video published yesterday by TMZ from inside the elevator shows the severity of the attack and the callousness of Rice's actions after knocking Janay Palmer out for several minutes.

The NFL repeatedly said it had not seen the video prior to being made public by TMZ. Today the NFL first saying, "Security for Atlantic City casinos is handled by the New Jersey State Police. Any videos related to an ongoing criminal investigation are held in the custody of the state police."

But New Jersey State Police only are responsible for crimes involving gambling, not assault. A short time later the NFL released another statement saying, it "reached out multiple times to the Atlantic Police Department and the Atlantic County Prosecutor's office. That video was not made public to us and no one in our office saw it until yesterday." But the video was available through sources other than law

enforcement. Revel Casino, where incident occurs, it gave the video not only to police and prosecutors but to New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement and to Ray Rice's attorney. That's four separate entities.

The existence of the inside the elevator view was known for months. In May, ESPN reporter Chris Martinson had it described to him. The description appearing to partly exonerate Rice.

CHRIS MARTINSON, REPORTER, ESPN: I'm told, for those who've seen the video, it wasn't pretty. And in fact, she attacks him, we don't know the reason why and he strikes her, strikes her hard and her head, according to the sources I've spoken with, struck the rail inside the elevator and she was unconscious.

MARQUEZ: Ravens' general manager Ozzy Newsome on July 24th called the NFL's investigation a thorough process.

And there were questions for Atlantic City Police, too. The initial police report from February 15th days the officers, despite reviewing the video, charged both Rice and Palmer with a misdemeanor, simple assault. On March 27th, Rice was charged by a grand jury with aggravated assault, a felony. But in May, prosecutors offered a deal that would keep the matter out of court. His record even expunged after a year if Rice stayed on the straight and narrow.

Many crying foul, light treatment for the three-time pro-ball star from every appearance. This incident was going away. Rice and his then wife, appearing at a joint press conference on July 24th, apologizing. The worst, seemingly behind them. Then the second video in a firestorm, still raging.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.


COOPER: A lot to talk about, joining us "UNGUARDED" host Rachel Nichols, who's got a text from Ray Rice today, also legal analysts Jeffrey Toobin and Sunny Hostin, both former federal prosecutors, and former teammate in Baltimore Raven all-time leading receiver, Derrick Mason.

So, Rachel, you were able to get in touch with Rice. What did he say?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN HOST, UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS: Yes, he just said, I am just holding strong for my wife and kid. He said, that's is all I can do right now. And you match that up with Janay Rice's Instagram post, referring and defending her husband.

It's congruous I think to a lot of people who are watching this video. But this is also a situation we see over and over again with domestic violence and this couple has maintained that this was a one-time incident. They both said this is 30 seconds of their life. They have known each other since high school. They have a child together and that they decided to get counseling and move forward together, and that's basically what Ray was texting me today.

COOPER: Derrick, I know you kept in charge with Ray Rice throughout this process? I understand, you were able to text with him today. What did he say?

DERRICK MASON, FORMER BALTIMORE RAVENS PLAYER: I basically just reached out to him and told him, you know, what was going on with me as far as people reaching out to me and I wanted to, as a friend, a former teammate, let him know, listen, I am asking asked questions, and I'm going to ask them truthfully. And he said OK, you know, it's hard because we played with the guy and you, you know, been in that locker room with them for three or four years and you know what type of person you saw in that locker room.

But then you see this video, it kind of changes your perception on, you know, Ray as a person. So it was hard to watch. But, you know, what he and I talked about today briefly, I'm intending to keep that confidential other than just to say, you know, I just reached out to him to let him know, hey, this is what I'm doing. And I didn't want anyone or him to see it, and say well, what is Derrick doing? Why is he, you know, talking about me or commenting on this? I felt as a friend I needed to do that.

COOPER: Jeff, when you hear the commissioner, Roger Goodell, saying, well, we didn't see the tape. I mean, he said we didn't know what was on the tape. But, I mean, anybody with, you know, brain cells can tell you if you're dragging an unconscious woman out of the vehicle you can get a pretty good idea of what happened inside that elevator. And the fact that this video, I understand police maybe not releasing it, though they have such good security sources. I wasn't sure the NFL could get it.

But the idea that the Ray Rice's attorney had this tape and that the NFL's attorneys didn't say to Rice's people give us everything you have on this --

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, think of the leverage the NFL had, too. Ray Rice is coming to them. The attorney is coming to them saying, please let us back in, please let Ray Rice play again. It's the most natural thing in the world to say OK, in order to make that judgment you give us all the evidence in this case. So the idea that the NFL couldn't get this second video is just -- is just preposterous, but equally preposterous is what Goodell just said -- in that interview.

He said, well, I -- the second video didn't make a any difference, but of course it made a huge difference.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: Because it was only then that he was suspended indefinitely. So I mean, his position is incoherent to say the very least.

COOPER: And Sunny, well, now when you hear the now wife of Ray Rice basically blaming the media for, you know, having her husband lose his position with the Ravens, but it isn't the media's fault here. This is Ray Rice's doing.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, of course it's Ray Rice's fault, but I think when you look at the culture, quite frankly, of domestic violence, this is something that I've seen throughout my career of prosecuting these cases. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've had a victim of domestic violence in my office. We're preparing our case, we get to trial, she walks in holding the defendant's hand and will not testify against him and is supporting her husband or her boyfriend or her man.

And so I think that her reaction makes a lot of sense, quite frankly, unfortunately. And it's something that we see all the time. But to just point, I think it's really sad that the NFL somehow is saying that they -- their due diligence, that they did their job, that they asked the prosecutor's office and the police department because that is the most, you know, the source that you trust.

Well, then just get it from the casino. The NFL has a team of investigators to investigate so many of these incidents. I know people --


COOPER: Yes, but they usually say, we're going to have an independent review, we're going to set up a review --

HOSTIN: Of course.

COOPER: -- of how we handle this matter. That can be very easy --


TOOBIN: Prosecutors say to an independent investigation, OK, but don't interview our witnesses, don't tamper with our witnesses. Maybe they did say that but the video was the video.

HOSTIN: And it doesn't --


TOOBIN: Exactly. So their position is just ridiculous.

COOPER: Rachel, Goodell is saying also he was not saying that it's possible for Ray Rice to play again. I mean, suspended indefinitely. But he left it open that maybe Ray Rice is going to come back and play.

NICHOLS: I would expect him to play again or at least be given the opportunity to play again. We saw Michael Vick in prison and then come back and play again. And look, however horrific the offense is, in this country we don't generally say that you can never work again for the rest of your life. And people are given that opportunity. Ray Rice is going to sit out at least a year, we'll see if he has to sit out anymore.

The real question is, is Roger Goodell going to change? Is the NFL going to change? There are two more serious domestic violence cases on the commissioner's desk right now. Frankly, he's not doing anything about them. And that is very concerning.

COOPER: Derrick, does -- in your opinion, does Ray Rice deserve another chance to play in the NFL?

MASON: I think he does. I'm a strong proponent of second chances, to say that OK, after one, you know, offense or mistake or whoever -- whatever the case may be, not just in Ray Rice's situation but any other player, they have -- I believe they do have a right to be allowed a second chance. Now there has to be things that he must do before he get that second chance or before the league even hears him -- at the end of the season.

But yes, indeed, he does -- he does deserve a second chance. Now will he get it? We don't know. You know, the commissioner might give him a second chance, but, you know, are one of 32 teams going to pick him up? We don't know.

COOPER: Right.

MASON: So it all depends. You give him a second chance but then the other teams might say hey, we don't want this guy a part of our locker room.

COOPER: You know, Jeffrey, as much as Ray Rice's wife would like to keep this private, and, you know, I guess, if you can understand her position, you wrote a very interesting thing, I mean, this is not her -- you don't have a right to privacy on something like this.

TOOBIN: Right. You know, one of the phrases that I think really misleads people when it comes to domestic violence is press charges, you know, whether the woman decides to press charges. It's not up to the victim to press charges.

Domestic violence is a crime against the community. When you rob a bank, it is not up to the bank whether the case is charged. It is a crime that gets charged no matter what. And, you know, as Sunny was just saying, it is often the case that the victim doesn't want to testify. There are some jurisdictions where they will arrest the victim in order to bring them into testify. That's how seriously they take domestic violence. You know, you always hate to see that happen. But, you know, this is not just -- she is not the only victim.

COOPER: And Sunny, the idea that Ray Rice's record can be wiped clean, that he just has to go to some counseling basically.

HOSTIN: Right.

COOPER: And it's like this thing never happened.

HOSTIN: It's remarkable. And I think what has bothered this -- what has bothered me so much about the way this was handled by the prosecutor's office is that they allowed him to enter into a diversion program. And I called the -- in New Jersey today and I made a lot of phone calls. And it's clear to me that most of these cases, domestic violence cases do not qualify for pretrial diversion.

They just don't qualify. They didn't qualify when I was prosecuting cases. And quite frankly when you look at the law it is clear that if there is an act of violence, an intentional act of violence like this, the program is really supposed to err on the side of not including the defendant. So I can only say that I think that this is celebrity justice at work.

COOPER: It's also interesting to me --

HOSTIN: And I know people are uncomfortable with that. But that is what happened.

COOPER: And also last night you pointed out that if it was animal cruelty they wouldn't even be eligible for diversion program.

HOSTIN: That's right. And you need (INAUDIBLE) in New Jersey.

COOPER: Which is just stunning to me. And also it's interesting to me how somebody was spinning that reporter, I guess it was from ESPN, with the description of the wife -- the girlfriend attacked --


TOOBIN: The Ravens tweeted that she --

COOPER: Right. They pointed that --


COOPER: Her role in all this.

NICHOLS: You cannot provoke your own beating. And they went into that again this morning. The Associated Press has played a video by the police department.


NICHOLS: A longer account of this where they showed her spitting at him. And the idea was that was somehow supposed to justify it.


COOPER: We've got to take a quick break.

Rachel Nichols, thank you. Jeff, Sunny, Derrick Mason, great to have you on.

We're going to continue the conversation through this and the next hour of 360. We're going for two hours tonight.

Coming up next, a former NFL official on whether he believes Roger Goodell's claim that they asked for the elevator tape and could not obtain it because they certainly didn't ask or -- from what we know to Ray Rice's attorney.

As always make sure to set your DVRs so you can watch 360 whenever you want.

Also ahead in this hour, a closer look at the NFL's domestic violence problem beyond Ray Rice. His case is far from the first one as we've already mentioned.

And as we go to break, a small sample of the outpour this story has unleashed on Twitter. Women recounting their own experiences with domestic violence under the #whyileft and #whyistayed.


COOPER: Welcome back, our breaking news tonight. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaking out about the new Ray Rice video, showing the running back punching his future wife in an elevator, knocking her out cold with a hard left hand. Goodell telling CBS News tonight that the images are sickening and they asked for the video from police but never got it.

The video has given the world and the NFL graphic evidence of a crime that often occurs in private or leads beyond the camera lens. The video is made visible an ugly detail. An issue that's not new to the NFL. Ray Rice is not the only NFL player who's hit a woman or faced charges of domestic violence. You don't have to look farther than the playing field on game day.

Randi Kaye has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, we're not going to be talking about anything or afterwards.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): July this year, Carolina Panther Greg Hardy on his way into court, facing charges of physically assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. According to the "Charlotte Observer," the woman testified that hardy dragged her room to room by her hair, putting his hands around her throat after a long night of drinking. A judge found him guilty.

So where is Hardy now? Right here, still on the field. He's appealed the verdict and the Panthers are reserving judgment.

DAVE GETTLEMAN, CAROLINA PANTHERS GENERAL MANAGER: These are very serious allegations. At the same time, we also respect the fact that he's appealed the decision and is entitled to a jury trial.

KAYE: Hardy told reporters he hates that he's become a distraction for his team.

Remember this guy? Chad Ochocinco Johnson, a six-time NFL pro-baller charged with first-degree misdemeanor domestic battery. He and his wife have been arguing over a receipt she had found for a box of condoms. Following the outburst, she ran to a neighbor who called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hit her with his head. She's got a cut on her head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does she need a paramedic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She probably is going to need stitches.

KAYE: According to the arrest report, Ochocinco grabbed his wife, head-butting her and causing a three-inch laceration on her forehead.

Ochocinco was found guilty for the August 2012 incident. He later spoke to ESPN.

CHAD "OCHOCINCO" JOHNSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: What happened was a mistake. That is what happened. A mistake that I continuously apologize for, for the people that I have hurt, including my wife.

KAYE: The Miami Dolphins released Ochocinco the day after the attack, but that didn't stop him from playing football again. Today he plays to the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes.

And just days ago, San Francisco 49ers' starting defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested for domestic violence.

(On camera): The "Sacramento Bee" is reporting that McDonald and his fiancee were celebrating McDonald's upcoming birthday when they started fighting. She received bruises on her neck and arms. The "Bee" also reports McDonald's fiancee was 10 weeks pregnant.

(Voice-over): McDonald was released on bail while police investigate.

RAY MCDONALD, 49ERS DEFENSIVE END: Can't say too much on it right now. Everybody knows the kind of person I am.

KAYE: With the case pending the 49ers are talking tough.

TRENT BAALKE, 49ERS GENERAL MANAGER: Domestic violence is unacceptable and certainly will not be tolerated.

KAYE: Maybe so, but they're giving McDonald the benefit of the doubt for now. He's still on the field.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: I want to return now to the NFL's claim that was repeated on CBS News tonight by the league commissioner Roger Goodell, that it tried to obtain all the facts that investigators had. And as you've been hearing tonight and ever since TMZ posted that video, a lot of people have a hard time believing that both with respect to the tape and more broadly people are wondering how the league could have seen video of Ray Rice dragging his fiancee's unconscious body from an elevator yet meted out such mild punishment, almost as if the league officials had not considered what he might have done to her inside that elevator to make her in that condition.

Louis Riddick is an ESPN NFL Insider, former team executive, he joins us tonight.

Louis, the fact that the NFL Commissioner Goodell earlier said, told CBS that we hadn't seen any video of what occurred in the elevator, we thought there was a video. We assumed there was, we asked for the video but we didn't get it. What do you make of that? I mean, you played in the NFL, you were an executive with the Philadelphia Eagles, do you buy that?

LOUIS RIDDICK, ESPN NFL INSIDER: You know, you have to take him at face value for what he is saying because you don't want to start questioning someone's integrity as far as whether or not they're telling the truth. But I have to say this from my experience, the individual team security departments that I have worked for, some of these guys have been some of the best that there is. And I notice they have had great relationships with both local law enforcements, state law enforcement, individual businesses throughout the areas I have worked and those specific cities.

And I can assure you these guys would have had this video for the individual club itself. For the Baltimore Ravens in this case, they would have had the video of what happened in that elevator. And there wouldn't have been any question as to whether or not there was something, you know, that took place in the elevator that would have caused any gray area. They would have known all the facts. I can assure you that.

COOPER: Right. And I mean, I know that hotel in Atlantic City. There's -- it's so obvious they would have had a camera inside that elevator especially once they saw the camera outside the elevator. I mean, do you think it was then incompetence or willful negligence? Or they just didn't really want to find out -- they didn't want to actually see it because then they'd have to take it more seriously?

RIDDICK: Yes. Yes, those are the kinds of -- those are the kinds of explanations that you really don't want to believe. You don't want to believe that anyone would really go there in this kind of situation. But, I mean, that's why we're having this discussion. That's why, you know, the outrage surrounding this whole issue is what it is, is because, you know, that there are probably ways that you could wind up obtaining this kind of tape.

I can know -- you know, know in my experience and the people that I know that that tape would have been -- would have been acquired and you would have been able to take a look at it. And the fact that he's saying that they did request it and they've requested it from multiple different law enforcement branches and couldn't get it, is -- it's just tough. It's tough to swallow considering how violent and just how awful the video actually was.

COOPER: The first video, I mean, the NFL saw that of Rice dragging his fiancee out of the elevator and she's unconscious, what do you make of the fact that that wasn't enough to merit more serious action by the NFL and by the Ravens?

RIDDICK: Well, that is obviously something that I've been saying over the past two days, that I had a big, big problem with. Because the question I asked then and have repeatedly asked is what did you expect it to look like when you eventually did see what happened inside? What did you think led to someone laying in the doorway of an elevator, lifeless on the floor? I believe her shoes were knocked off and just -- and not moving.

What do you think led up to that? Did you think that they were, you know, roughhousing in the elevator and someone accidentally slipped and fell? You knew it was going to be awful. That should have been enough. In the places that I worked that would have been enough. And for most people, like myself, that's it right there. That's case closed as far as what you need to do in this kind of situation.

It's zero tolerance, you put your hands on somebody like that, you put your hands on a woman like that, I don't really need any other -- any other evidence. I don't need any other explanation. I don't really care what your explanation is because this is just something that, look, this transcends football. This transcends whether or not you're a good player or not. This transcends whether or not -- what the salary implications are as far as you're salary cap if you wind up having to release a player like this. It's bigger than all of that.

Where do you draw the line if you don't draw it here?

COOPER: What do you believe about the terms of current punishment for domestic violence within the NFL? Because Goodell, I mean, recently recommending a minimum six-game suspension for first-time offenders, potential lifetime ban for repeat offenders. Is that enough?

RIDDICK: Well, I mean, obviously that's -- that's a very subjective subject as far as what exactly do you feel is fair and equitable punishment. Look, my stance personally is if you do that one time you're out for me. I think players need to start getting it, that this is a privilege to work here, and it is not a right to be there. You can't act any way you want. And to think that people are always going to make excuses for you and kind of -- just keep pushing you through, especially if you're good enough, we'll take care of it, we'll take care of it. No, we're not going to take care of it. You're not (INAUDIBLE), we're not taking care of it. It's not that kind of situation and I think it's about time that really, you know, this kind of things start being put into play.

COOPER: Louis Riddick, I appreciate you being on. Thank you.

RIDDICK: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, as always you can find out more on this story and others at

Just ahead, publicly, Janay Rice is never waving her support for her husband, standing by him, staying with him, marrying him just weeks after he knocked her out cold in that elevator. She's now talking to media saying, basically leave us alone.

We're going to have more tonight on how the couple met and what Mrs. Rice said today in that Instagram post.


COOPER: As we mentioned at the top of our broadcast, we heard today from Janay Rice who says that she is living a nightmare and the media is to blame for it.

No one could pretend to know what she thinks and feels today about her experience in that elevator back in February. In a moment, we are going to speak with CNN's Carol Costello, who herself experience something similar at the hands of a boyfriend.

First though, what we do know about Janay Rice's story. Gary Tuchman tonight reports.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The video is disturbing and very difficult to watch. And for many people, it's the first they've seen or heard of Janay Rice. She grew up as Janay Palmer in Westchester County, New York as did Ray Rice.

The couple met as teenagers and started dating in 2008 just before Rice was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. That same year, she transferred from a junior college to Towson University in Maryland to be closer to Rice.

And after she graduated in 2011, he proposed to her. Surprising her with a ring and a new car. In an interview earlier this year, she told the newspaper in West Virginia, "I almost passed out when he told me the car was mine."

In 2012, they had a baby named Raven, same pronunciation, different spelling in the football team. In February of this year, the brutal elevator incident in Atlantic City Hotel and Casino. The couple got married one month later. In May, the husband and wife made some statements to the news media.

JANAY RICE, RAY RICE'S WIFE: I love Ray and I know he will continue to prove himself to not only you all but the community and I know he will gain your respect back in due time. So thank you, guys.

FOREMAN: A woman clearly supporting her husband even taking on some of the blame.

J. RICE: I do deeply regret the role that I've played in the incident that night.

FOREMAN: That comment upset many perhaps even more disconcerting, Ray Rice's apology. He started by saying he was sorry to the Raven's owner, general manager and head coach.

RAY RICE, FORMER RAVENS PLAYER: I also want to apologize to my fans, to the kids, to everyone who is affected, you know, by the situation that me and my wife went in.

FOREMAN: One person he didn't apologize to during this opportunity, his wife. But Janay Rice, at least for now is standing by her man saying in Instagram post, "To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing.

To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. This is our life. What don't you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel all alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels."

Janay Rice is to blame on herself and blaming the news media, but at least publicly she is not blaming her husband. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Some perspective now from CNN's Carol Costello, herself who have survived abuse. She's been speaking out about it, taking on people she believes have been making excuses for Ray Rice.

A soon-to-be published opinion piece for Carol has this to say to such people. Shut up, shut up, shut up. I never wanted to become the poster child for anything let alone domestic violence, but my blood is boiling. So when I say shut up, I'm venting at all of those people out there who insist on blaming the victim.

Carol joins us now. I was wondering what your reaction was, A, when you saw that video and also when you heard what Janay posted?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: So it is very hard for me to talk about. When I saw what transpired in the elevator, I frankly wasn't surprised because I knew what happened. What I can't believe is that people were so shocked to see it. What did you think happened in the elevator? That she propelled herself into the wall and knocked herself out? He hit her.

COOPER: And Roger Goodell said today in that interview at CBS, well, we didn't know what happened in the elevator.

COSTELLO: Of course, come on, you knew what happened in that elevator, what else could happen in that elevator? When I heard what Janay had to say in her Instagram message, it just breaks my heart.

I don't know about the relationship and what goes on between them, but the thing that disturbed me most about the video was not the actual punch. It was what happened afterwards. When she was lying there on the ground and he callously dragged her outside of the elevator.

Face down on the floor. Didn't pull her skirt down, didn't even bend down to say honey, are you all right? That said volumes to me more than the punch --

COOPER: Do you believe this is the first time?

COSTELLO: No. No, because he was not even surprised when she passed out. Even when you accidentally hit someone you love, don't you immediately say, are you all right? Even if you're angry at them but none of that happened. He just stood there and looked at her. There was no shock, there was no surprise. There was no nothing except irritation that he couldn't get her out of that elevator.

COOPER: I want to ask you what happened to you and you tell us what you want to say. One of the things -- I have heard that after your boyfriend did this to you, you had friends who basically said to you, but he is such a nice guy?

COSTELLO: Yes, well, I'll tell you a little bit of what happened. One day we were in an argument. He took me and he violently threw me against the wall and it knocked me out. He dragged me much like Ray Rice dragged Janay, so I could relate to that.

When I told some of my friends about this incident, they couldn't believe that it happened because he was such a charming man. Charming and handsome and nice. They were our mutual friends. They were not just my friends.

And I guess in retrospect I'm not really that surprised they didn't quite believe me because they liked him. They loved him like a brother. I loved him once.

COOPER: Looking back on it, does it -- I mean, did you learn from that? Obviously, you ultimately left this guy. Does it change the way you viewed domestic violence? Did you learn? Because a lot of people don't seem to absorb the lessons because it is kind of shocking, this person you love has done this to you.

COSTELLO: You know what? Oddly, it took years and years for me to realize that a wrong was even done to me.

COOPER: Really?

COSTELLO: I left the relationship quickly because I didn't want to be involved in that, too much drama. I was very independent. I didn't want anybody controlling me. But I didn't realize until years later that a crime was committed against me.

I was assaulted. I didn't realize that until I was in my 30s. And I can't tell you why. One day I just suddenly sat up and said, you know what? That was just wrong. It wasn't my fault, no matter what he perceived that I did to him.

COOPER: And if you look at some of the studies, I mean, so much of this does occur to young women in their early 20s, who feel -- they are easy to make -- feel like they played some role in it.

COSTELLO: Well, it's your first relationship usually, right? At 20 years old, you're immature, you think, this jealous guy, he wants to fight all of these guys that are looking at you. He must really, really love me.

You don't really realize that that is normal behavior that if you love someone and someone loves you back you both should be secure enough not to express anger when you're threatened by someone else.

COOPER: Well, it's not an easy thing to talk about. I appreciate you coming on tonight. Thank you, Carol. Carol Costello. If you know somebody who is a victim of domestic violence and need help, please go to, you can find a list of organizations that can give you support immediately.

Up next, we'll have more on this, by the way, in our next hour on 360, but up next in this hour, the White House pushing back on allegations made on this program last night by the spokesperson for Steven Sotloff's family.

He told me that moderate Syrian militants sold Steven Sotloff to ISIS. If that is true that could certainly complicate things for President Obama. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Some more breaking news tonight, President Obama told congressional leaders that he has the authority to carry out his planned offensive against ISIS in Syria and Iraq without their authorization.

Now whether the strategy that he will outline tomorrow night is going to involve aiding moderate Syrian militants that remains to be seen. Last night on this program, a close friend of Steven Sotloff and a family spokesman shared for the first time new details about how they believe the American journalist ended up in the hands of ISIS militants soon after he arrived in Syria.

Barak Barfi told me that according to his sources, moderate Syrian militants sold his friend to ISIS. Mr. Barfi also criticized the U.S. government's handling of the abduction. He said the White House could have done more to save Steven Sotloff.

Last night in a statement, the White House said that we understand the very real pain the Sotloff family is feeling at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they grieve Steven's loss. We condemn the murders of Steven and Jim Foley and we remain committed to bringing the perpetrators of those crimes to justice.

Today, the White House pushed back on Mr. Barfi's claim about moderate Syrian militants being involved in Sotloff's capture. Here is Jim Sciutto.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama is preparing to address the nation on his strategy for defeating ISIS. Which will depend in part on supporting moderate Syrian rebels, so the allegations first on CNN from Steven Sotloff's friend and family spokesman was alarming.

BARAK BARFI, SOTLOFF FAMILY SPOKESMAN: For the first time we can say that Steven Sotloff was sold at the border, we believe these moderate rebels, one of them sold him.

SCIUTTO: Barak Barfi tells CNN that a moderate rebel group tipped off ISIS to Sotloff's arrival by telephone. It then swooped in elaborate mobile checkpoint, a group of vehicles overtaking Sotloff on a road and taking him away.

A senior administration official tells CNN there is no evidence to support the claim that Sotloff was in the custody of the moderate opposition at any time. Syrian opposition officials consulting with sources and activists on the ground also deny the story.

However, the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest acknowledged that there are lingering questions about which parts of the opposition are truly trustworthy.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This has been a difficult challenge not just for the United States, but for other countries to confront. And that is vetting the individuals who are part -- who are elements of the Syrian opposition, to ensure that the support that we're providing is going into the hands of the right people.

SCIUTTO: Today, the Syrian opposition is made up of some 12 different rebel groups, some moderate, some extreme, some in between. The reason that President Obama has resisted arming rebels in any significant way.

JONAH SCHULHOFER-WOHL, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: There are many groups, but for the most part we know who their leaders are. We know whether or not they say they want to institute a more Islamic form of governance in a post-Assad Syria or whether they want secular governance. And we can pick and choose who our allies can be if the U.S. decides to fight the Islamic State in Syria.


SCIUTTO: In a measure of just how confusing the situation is on the ground in Syria, a Syrian opposition official presents an entirely different allegation. That Sotloff was given up by his local translator and assistant who, unknown to Sotloff was part of another Islamist group.

This is just an allegation. The White House is reserving judgment on all of these questions until the FBI completes an investigation. Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: I want to bring our Ivan Watson who spent a lot of time in Syria and national security analyst, Fran Townsend. Ivan, can you just explain for people how it works when you're entering Syria. Who work with? How do you figure out who to work with?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's evolve quite a bit over the course of this terrible three-year conflict. In the beginning when the Syrian opposition started taking over territory, there were smugglers as well as activists who would bring us quite literally through chain link fences, barbed wire fences and go hiking for miles in the dark up mountains from Turkey into Syria.

Every time we went in, what they promised us about security and about what the situation on the ground would be turned out to be often exaggerated and we were taking serious risks when we would do this.

Now, there were different armed groups and different armed factions, and as this conflict has gone on, it has gotten more and more criminal. There are some groups that have grown more and more hard line.

We've seen this pattern before, Anderson, in other conflict zones, whereas things deteriorate the business of kidnapping rose and rose because people like me, people like Steven Sotloff, they become valuable targets that can be bought and sold.

The biggest fear that everybody has is that you can get grabbed and then sold off to an ideological group such as al Qaeda and ISIS that could then do some of the terrible things that we've seen in these awful videos.

That is the nightmare scenario when you go in and out of a conflict zone like Syria, which is somewhat similar to what we saw in Iraq 10 years ago during the U.S. occupation.

COOPER: And Fran, to Ivan's point, I mean, there are groups that kidnap people and then sell them to other groups, trade them to other groups, but do you believe that the U.S. knows exactly what happened to Steven Sotloff at this point?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I don't, Anderson, and look for a lot of reasons I think we'll have to press the administration to be more transparent about what they do know but not now, right? Because we know that there are many Americans who are kidnapped and who are being held.

What you don't want to do is put them at risk. I think there is more questions than we have answers right now. And it is not clear that frankly the administration has the answers we're looking for.

Look, it could be that he was sold out by his translator. It could be that he was pass around. I think it is likely he was passed around some of these different groups inside Syria, but which ones is not at all clear. I think we have to be careful not to rush to judgment until we know more.

COOPER: Ivan, how do you actually vet who you're working with?

WATSON: That is really hard, I mean, I have heard accounts from other journalists who were kidnapped that they had relationships with a commander, for example, for the better part of a year. And then the commander suddenly turns on them and then tries to make a few bucks off of somebody who had been a guest.

There is also the really frightening scenario of kind of working with someone, an activist who could then sell you out. So my personal decision has been, as the kidnapping got worse and worse in Northern Syria, I just stopped going.

Braver people than me would go and sometimes there terrible, terrible results -- Anderson. COOPER: Your friend last night on the program, obviously, Mr. Barfi, the family spokesperson for the Sotloffs said that so-called moderate rebels sold Sotloff. The fact that he called them moderate rebels, to you, does that implicate the Free Syrian Army or does that leave it more open?

TOWNSEND: No. I mean, you and I, Anderson, don't know what Mr. Barfi meant by moderate opposition, right. I mean, it maybe -- certainly you and I wouldn't consider Al Nusra front or any of these al Qaeda- related groups to be moderate opposition.

But I'm not sure he knows frankly. It wasn't clear to me. I spoke to him before he went on set and it wasn't clear to me that he actually understood specifically who it was.

The other thing, Anderson, is the White House has a whole inter-agency working group that works the hostage crisis. I supervised it when I was in the White House, Lisa Monaco, the assistant to the president for Homeland Security, supervises it now.

It includes the FBI, the intelligence community, and the DOD, and obviously that group was quite actively following the Foley and Sotloff cases because remember, we know that there was an attempted rescue.

So the administration clearly knows much more than we know. But they're not willing to say it right now as long as there are additional Americans being held.

COOPER: Fran, I appreciate you being on. Ivan Watson, as well. Coming up next, what parents should be looking out for with that new virus sending hundreds of kids to the hospital. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Other stories we're following tonight, Susan Hendricks has a 360 News and Business Bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, 12 states in the Midwest and southeast are investigating clusters of Enterovirus, a respiratory illness that has sent hundreds of children to the hospital with a kind of super cold as it has been describe.

The head of the Infectious Diseases at a children's hospital in Missouri says she has never seen anything like this in 30 years. Parents should be looking for difficulty breathing, a cough, a fever and also a rash in some cases.

A preliminary report on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 said the plane broke apart in the air after being hit by a burst of high-energy objects, the flight was shot down in Eastern Ukraine in July, killing all 298 people on board.

And it was a big day for Apple today, they unveiled the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and also the Apple Watch. The phones will be available next week, the Apple Watch will be on the market early next year for $349 and up. It has a lot of full features, Anderson, including an app that will let you open your hotel room door if you need to.

COOPER: Wow, my phone is all cracked so I'm very excited to get the new one, the big one. All right, Susan, thanks very much.

Just ahead, another live hour of 360 including the latest on the Ray Rice's suspension, what the NFL commissioner is saying today about the video showing him knocking out his future wife with a punch and why some are skeptical that the league really only saw it for the first time yesterday.