The NFL said Monday that league officials had not seen a graphic video said to depict the February domestic violence incident involving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancée in Atlantic City before making a decision on Rice’s widely criticized two-game suspension.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has since called the duration of the suspension a mistake while toughening the sport’s penalties for future domestic violence offenders. It was not immediately clear if the NFL would consider revisiting its disciplinary action against Rice in the aftermath of the video’s release Monday by TMZ.
One person with knowledge of the league’s inner workings said it was not yet known if the NFL would give consideration to amending Rice’s punishment. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic and because the league’s deliberations were ongoing.
(Warning: Video is graphic and disturbing)
The NFL issued a written statement Monday morning that said: “We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
Rice is currently in the middle of the two-game suspension without pay imposed by the NFL for the incident. He missed the Ravens’ season-opening loss Sunday at home to the Cincinnati Bengals and is to miss Thursday night’s game in Baltimore against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rice also was fined an additional game check based on last season’s salary. The punishment is to cost him approximately $529,000. He can rejoin the team on Friday.
The new video appears to show Rice striking Janay Palmer inside a hotel elevator. Rice later pulls Palmer, who is apparently unconscious, out of the elevator.
Previous video footage from outside the elevator had appeared to show Rice pulling Palmer from the elevator. There had been no previous publicly released images of what occurred inside the elevator, and Rice had refused to comment on that issue.
The couple later married. Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree aggravated assault charge and was accepted into a pretrial intervention program, avoiding trial.
Goodell initially defended the league’s punishment of Rice even after it was criticized by media members and others. Goodell said the penalty had to be consistent with previous league rulings in other cases. But when Goodell and the league announced the NFL’s new domestic violence penalties, Goodell wrote in a letter to the owners of the 32 NFL teams: “I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”
The NFL announced last month that players involved in future domestic violence cases would be subject to a six-game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a repeat offense. A repeat offender would be permitted to apply for reinstatement to the league after one year.
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