As the NFL grapples with a colossal backlash over its attitude towards domestic violence, a former team executive has revealed that hundreds of cases of domestic abuse by players were swept under the rug during his 30-year league tenure.
Jerry Angelo, a former general manager of the Chicago Bears, told USA Today that his perspective changed with the controversy around Ray Rice, and he regrets not taking stronger action against players when he was in a position to do so.
Rice, the running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was shown knocking his then fiancée unconscious in an elevator with a punch to the face, in a video released in August by TMZ.
“I made a mistake,” said Angelo. “I was human. I was a part of it. I’m not proud of it.”
Angelo, who had earlier worked in different capacities for the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, said his typical approach after any violent incident involving a player was simply to enquire whether everyone involved was O.K. “And then we’d just move on,” he said.
A statement from the Bears, released later on Thursday, denied any knowledge of Angelo’s claims: “We were surprised by Jerry’s comments and do not know what he is referring to.”