Was Former NFL Exec Embellishing Or Just Being Honest?

Former NFL GM Jerry Angelo said his comments on covering up hundreds of domestic violence incidents was embellished, but was he telling the truth?

Was Former NFL Exec Embellishing Or Just Being Honest?
Getty Images / Jim Prisching

Former Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo found himself backpedaling Friday after saying he and other NFL officials covered up "hundreds and hundreds" of domestic violence incidents in his three decades with the league. 

In an article published Thursday, Angelo told USA Today he and others made mistakes by letting domestic abuses go unpunished. He said: "We knew it was wrong. ... For whatever reason, it just kind of got glossed over. ... And I was part of that, but I didn't stand alone."

He reportedly confessed to not telling the league about domestic violence cases for fear that it could hurt the success of teams he worked for. Angelo made these comments while being interviewed on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He added the Ray Rice video made him reflect on how he mishandled incidents. 

But a day after his confession, Angelo went on the Chicago-based "Kap & Haugh" radio show to clear the air: 

"The point, the 'hundreds and hundreds,' that was totally taken out of context. ... There was no hundreds and hundreds of domestic violence. ... I have no knowledge of that and have no idea how I would authenticate that." 

Angelo said he intended to highlight the hundreds and hundreds of things that he'd seen change or improve over his 31 years in the league. 

Given the context of his comments — including the wrongdoing admission and the glossing over of misconduct — it's hard to imagine how changes and improvements could be misinterpreted as domestic violence incidents. 

And Keith Olbermann says Angelo's initial comments could be right: 

"Since the Super Bowl, we've had five domestic violence arrests in the modern NFL. If the number of incidents during Angelo's time was merely 10 a year, not five, the league could've hidden 310 cases. That would be hundreds and hundreds." 

Several reporters say there is no comprehensive list of NFL arrests or suspensions regarding domestic abuse, but many believe incidents were covered up — including the situation with Ray Rice before the videos were leaked. 

A writer for Deadspin takes it a step further, asking, "Just what else has the NFL been hiding?"

This past week, the NFL owners met in New York to discuss reshaping the league's personal conduct policy. Goodell said previously those changes will be in place by the upcoming Super Bowl. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.