Ray Rice has won his appeal against an indefinite suspension from the NFL games, and is now eligible to play again immediately.
The 27-year-old NFL running-back was handed an indefinite ban in September when a video emerged of him punching his then-fiancée (now wife) Janay Palmer in the face.
Raymell Mourice Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens, but he is now allowed to play should he sign for a new team.
The appeal, heard on November 5 but announced on November 28, had to decide if the NFL overstepped its authority.
American football’s governing body had modified Ray Rice’s two-game suspension, making it indefinite after the video of the incident went public.
Ray Rice has been eligible to sign for a new team since his ban was put in place, but he had not yet accepted a contract.
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Ray Rice’s wife, Janay Palmer Rice, says she is “hurt beyond words” over how her husband has been treated after the NFL star was sacked for punching her.
Ray Rice has been released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a video emerged of him hitting his then-fiancée.
The CCTV footage shows them in a lift at the Revel casino in Atlantic City.
They hit each other before Ray Rice knocks her “unconscious” with a punch.
The video, released by the Associated Press, was shown to them on Monday night by a law enforcement official. The pair can be heard swearing and shouting at each other and it looks like Janay Palmer spits at Ray Rice just before he hits her.
Janay Palmer falls to the floor, and he then drags her from the lift, where he is met by hotel staff.
One of them can be heard saying: “She’s drunk, right?”
And then: “No cops.”
Ray Rice does not seem to respond.
A video of Ray Rice pulling Janay Palmer from the lift first emerged months ago on TMZ. It didn’t show the full attack.
Janay Palmer and Ray Rice have since married.
In a post on Instagram, Janay Rice says it feels like a “horrible nightmare” and seemingly defends her husband.
She blames the media and public outcry for taking “something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life”.
After suggesting the pair regret the incident she said it has left them feeling hurt, embarrassed, alone and without happiness.
“THIS IS OUR LIFE… Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is!”
Ray Rice has been released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a video emerged of him hitting his then-fiancée Janay Palmer (photo AP)
Things are continuing to get worse for Ray Rice – Nike have confirmed they have dropped him as one of their sponsored athletes and EA Sports are removing him from their 2015 version of the NFL game Madden.
Meanwhile, local businesses in Baltimore have begun offering discounted goods in return for Ray Rice jerseys.
Hersh’s pizzeria posted their offer on Facebook: “Come trade your Ray Rice Ravens Jersey in for a free pizza at Hersh’s. These jerseys will save us money on toilet paper this week.”
Their neighbors, the No Idea Tavern responded on Twitter with their own offer – a ten dollar bar tab for every jersey handed to them.
The latest from the Baltimore Ravens came in a one-sentence press release on September 8.
“The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon,” it said.
Earlier in the day the team had claimed to have never seen the video.
“It’s something we saw for the first time today, all of us,” said Coach John Harbaugh.
“It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different.”
He said he had spoken with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome after they saw the video and they then decided to fire Ray Rice.
Back in July, after the shorter video emerged, Ray Rice was suspended for two games for domestic violence. He said his actions were “inexcusable”.
At the time Ozzie Newsome said: “We respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be.
“That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect.
“We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.”
Ray Rice was also arrested over the incident and an Atlantic City police summons stated that he caused “bodily injury to Janay Palmer, specifically by striking her with his hand, rendering her unconscious”.
He was charged with felony aggravated assault, but in May he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that allowed him to avoid jail.
Coach John Harbaugh said at the time: “The thing I appreciate about it is how Ray has handled it afterward by acknowledging it was wrong and he’ll do everything he can do to make it right.
“That’s what you ask for when someone does a wrong thing. So, I’m proud of him for that.”
The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that, based on the new video evidence, Ray Rice has been suspended indefinitely.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Monday morning.
“That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
This echoes what Roger Goodell said on August 1 during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, when he claimed they were still “evaluating” the situation.
“I’m not going to go into what he told us or anything or if it matches or if it doesn’t,” Ravens receiver Torrey Smith said.
“That doesn’t matter. What matters is what you see. It wasn’t a pleasant site at all.”
The White House has also released a statement saying: “The President is the father of two daughters.
“And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society.
“Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that’s true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors.”
So far Ray Rice’s lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, has declined to comment
Ray Rice hasn’t spoken often to the media, but on July 31 he said it was “something I have to live with the rest of my life”.
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