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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 9th, 2014
07:10 PM ET

Fmr. NFL player: The league fumbled on Ray Rice

(CNN) – After TMZ published surveillance video showing Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice dragging his unconscious wife out of a hotel elevator, the NFL punished Rice with a two-game suspension.

But then the footage showing Rice knocking his wife unconscious inside that elevator went public. And now the league finds itself facing more criticism for failing to properly punish a player for domestic violence until its hand was forced. There is also growing skepticism regarding the NFL's claim that they had not previously seen the video from inside the elevator.

"It's easy to see that the NFL fumbled this issue," said ESPN "Sports Nation" host and former NFL player Marcellus Wiley.

The NFL is a multibillion-dollar conglomerate that has FBI investigators that dive into potential players' childhoods "and know the finest of details of your history," said Wiley.

"There was video of (Rice and his then-fiancee) outside the elevator, but no one would ever take the effort to find out what happened in the elevator? That's a hard one to believe," he said.

Janay Rice said on Instragram Tuesday that she blames the media, and not her husband, for what has happened, comments that took many people off guard.

But Kim Gandy, president & CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, says she wasn't surprised at all.

"What we know about survivors of domestic violence is that they do whatever it takes to keep themselves safe. Sometimes it's leaving, sometimes it's staying to protect their kids, sometimes it's defending him because that keeps him calm," said Gandy.

"Nobody really knows where she is on this. All we know is that she is surely doing the best she can to keep herself and her daughter safe," she said.

For more of our interview with Kim Gandy and Marcellus Wiley, check out the video above.

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