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(CNN) – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS News Tuesday that the league had not previously seen surveillance footage of running back Ray Race knocking his wife unconscious in a hotel elevator.
"I don't buy that," says former NFL player Chris Kluwe. "The NFL as an organization, and Roger Goodell has shown that as commissioner he will stop at nothing to find out all the facts in a case, and then render judgment on that case."
The violent incident took place inside an Atlantic City hotel seven months ago. TMZ Sports posted the video Monday showing Rice and Palmer entering an elevator. Inside the elevator, Rice punches his then-fiancee Janay Palmer. Palmer lunges after Rice, and then Rice hits her again and she falls to the floor.
Previously, TMZ Sports had released hotel surveillance video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator.
The NFL "knew there was video evidence, they knew Ray Rice and his attorney had that video evidence, I don't think that there's any way the commissioner doesn't ask for that, and then watches the video, and then takes it into account when deciding what the punishment should be," said Kluwe.
"When we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened," Goodell told CBS.
But CBS pressed Goodell about what was ambiguous about that first video, where Rice drags his unconscious fiancee out of the elevator.
"There was nothing ambiguous about that, that was the result that we saw. We did not know what led up to that, we did not know the details of that. We asked for that on several occasions. It was unacceptable in and of itself, what we saw in the first tape, and that's why we took action, albeit insufficient action, and we acknowledged that," said Goodell.
After the first video surfaced, NFL handed Rice a two-game suspension. After TMZ published the second video this week, the Baltimore Ravens ended its contract with Rice, and the NFL suspended the running back indefinitely.
"Goodell did know what happened in that elevator, because it was widely reported by many sports outlets that Ray Rice told the commissioner and the Ravens exactly what had happened," said Kluwe.
"To try and backpedal away from that now, it really just seems like more fumbling at an issue that the NFL doesn't know how to address, and they should know how to address because it's a very important issue," said Kluwe.
Goodell doesn't rule out a return for Rice, and neither does Kluwe, who says "the NFL is all about redemption stories."
"If Ray Rice shows that he can truly change who he is, change that type of behavior, and serve as a role model, I think he does deserve a second chance," he said.
"But from his actions that he's shown so far, it doesn't look like he's interested in that. It looks like he's been more interested in covering up what happened so he can keep his job to keep getting paid," said Kluwe.
The former NFL punter is joining a chorus of people calling on Goodell to resign, but only if there is proof that he saw the second tape from inside the elevator before he handed down Rice's initial two-game suspension.
"This is a very important issue, and it's an issue that the NFL has been struggling with over the years, is - there's a big problem with domestic violence and abuse within the NFL from its players," said Kluwe.
When players are given a "slap on the wrist, when there are no consequences to hitting your partner ... then guys are going to keep doing it, because they have no reason not to. If that's in their mindset, then they're just going to keep going," said Kluwe.
Domestic violence is a problem across the country, but it really plagues the NFL – it appears to be the league's No. 1 off-field issue.
"Society at large has a domestic violence problem, and the NFL serves as kind of a reinforcing stereotype for that, in that people are willing to look past domestic violence issues when its their favorite player who is scoring touchdowns for their team," said Kluwe.
The NFL has a "sliding scale of justice determined by how valuable you are to the team, how valuable you are to the brand of the NFL," said Kluwe.
Sitting Rice for two games after that first tape was released "reinforces to everyone else that domestic violence is okay ... and that shouldn't be the case," said Kluwe.
Players who are abusers need to get treatment and help, and for the victims of domestic violence "we need to have better support systems for them, so if they want to leave, they know they can leave," he said.
CNN's Shaneika Dabney-Henderson contributed to this report.