Subscribe

Ray Rice wins NFL suspension appeal; eligible to play again this season

A former federal judge ruled Friday that the former Baltimore Ravens running back's indefinite suspension be vacated immediately.

  • close
    In this Nov. 5, 2014, file photo, Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL in New York. Rice has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL, which has been "vacated immediately," the NFL football players' union said Friday, Nov. 28, 2014.
    Jason DeCrow/AP/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Ray Rice has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL.

An arbitrator ruled Friday that his suspension for punching his fiancee, now his wife, should be vacated immediately. The NFL said Rice, a free agent, is "eligible to play upon signing a new contract."

Former US District Judge Barbara S. Jones said Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision in September to change Rice's original suspension from two games to indefinite was "arbitrary" and an "abuse of discretion."

Jones was deciding whether the NFL overstepped its authority in modifying Rice's two-game suspension after video of the Baltimore Ravens running back punching Janay became public.

Rice was released by the Ravens when the video went public. Rice and the union contended he was essentially sentenced twice, and Jones agreed.

She noted in her decision that after Goodell increased the punishment for a first offense under the personal conduct policy from two to six games, "the commissioner called Rice to assure him that the new policy would not affect him — that it was forward-looking and his penalty would not be increased."

In her decision, Jones also wrote:

"Because Rice did not mislead the commissioner and because there were no new facts on which the commissioner could base his increased suspension, I find that the imposition of the indefinite suspension was arbitrary. I therefore vacate the second penalty imposed on Rice.

"The provisions of the first discipline — those regarding making continued use of counseling and other professional services, having no further involvement with law enforcement, and not committing any additional violations of league policies — still stand."

The NFL said it accepted the decision.

"We respect Judge Jones's decision to reinstate Ray Rice from his indefinite suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy in an incident of domestic violence," spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email to The Associated Press.

"Ray Rice is a free agent and has been eligible to be signed by an NFL team since he was released by the Ravens. Based on Judge Jones' decision, he will be eligible to play upon signing a new contract."

Goodell and the Rices testified at the hearing, as did NFL security chief Jeffrey Miller and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. During his appearance, Goodell told Jones: "I do accept that I have to be consistent with consistent circumstances, and ... I think that's about fairness, and fairness would be, you should be as consistent as possible in your discipline."

The NFL Players Association claimed a "victory for a disciplinary process that is fair and transparent" in a statement. The union called again for collective bargaining to produce a new personal conduct policy.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK