This offseason, one of the top running backs in the NFL, Ray Rice, was suspended two games for third-degree aggravated assault on March 27, 2014 against his fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer. This came as a shock to Ravens fans and NFL watchers alike. The suspension was final until recent videos of the fight were put online, changing the suspension to indefinite.
Rice was drafted out of Rutgers in the second round 2008 draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He amassed the second most rushing yards in Ravens history with 5,940, behind only Jamal Lewis. His 2013 season was derailed by injury, rushing for only 660 yards on 214 carries and 4 touchdowns on the season.
The news of Rice’s charges came as a surprise to players and fans. He had a good reputation among fellow players and team staff. He created a charity called the Ray Rice Charitable Fund, that has football camps for young players. He was known as a role model to the youth of the community in Baltimore and his home town New Rochelle, N.Y.
The video released be TMZ starts with Rice and his fiancée talking, then Rice spitting on her right as they enter the elevator. When they enter the doors close, and then Palmer slaps Rice. He then punches her, knocking her unconscious to the floor. When the doors opened, he attempted to drag her out of the elevator, until a security guard showed up. He lies saying that she had too much to drink and that is why she is passed out, then the video ends.
This event put the Ravens and the NFL under much scrutiny. Not only did most people see the original two game suspension as light, but the indefinite suspension after the video emerged as shady. Also, the fact that the Ravens waited until the indefinite suspension to terminate Rice’s contract showed that they were trying to downplay the situation. The organization even tried to keep the original video hidden to the media, to try and keep his suspension down. The way both parties handled the situation was improper considering the how the event took place.
Yesterday, the NFL Players Association announced it is appealing the suspension, so the situation is not going away any time soon.