November 24, 2014 Articles

Ray Rice, Roger Goodell, and an Explosive Legal Showdown

By Joseph M. Hanna

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been the center of attention for the 2014 National Football League (NFL) season without playing in a single game. Rice was suspended for two games after a February 2014 video showed him apathetically dragging his then-fiancée Janay Palmer facedown and unconscious out of an Atlantic City hotel elevator. Rice was indicted by a grand jury on aggravated assault charges but was later accepted into a pretrial intervention program, allowing him to avoid a trial and jail time. Following these charges, the NFL imposed a two-game suspension on Rice.

In September, TMZ leaked the infamous elevator video, which captured Rice hitting Palmer in the Atlantic City hotel, knocking her unconscious. The Ravens quickly terminated Rice's contract, releasing him from the team, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Rice would be suspended indefinitely. Despite the fact that Goodell changed Rice's suspension to indefinite status following the elevator video, the commissioner was widely criticized for failing to address the elevator videotape in the first place.

Rice is now appealing the NFL's decision to suspend him indefinitely, with a hearing scheduled for November 5–6. However the arbitrator decides the appeal, Rice and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have a number of legal arguments for challenging the indefinite suspension.

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