Baltimore cuts ties with Ray Rice on same day a new video surfaces
Baltimore Ravens officials announced they terminated the contract of running back Ray Rice — on the same day a new video surfaced showing him striking his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Rice has been suspended indefinitely.
The Baltimore Sun and The Associated Press
BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Ravens are standing by Ray Rice no longer.
Team officials announced Monday they terminated the contract of the 27-year-old running back — on the same day a new video surfaced showing him striking his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Rice has been suspended indefinitely.
Those decisions come about seven months after the three-time Pro Bowl performer was arrested and initially charged with simple assault after an altercation with Palmer, now his wife, in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino.
It caps a stunning fall for Rice, who had been suspended two games by the league for violating its personal-conduct policy.
The rather grainy video released Monday by TMZ Sports appears to show that after Rice and Palmer hit each other in a Revel casino elevator, Rice struck Palmer with his left fist, knocking her off her feet and into a railing.
Meanwhile, in a higher-quality video shown to The Associated Press by a law-enforcement official Monday night, Rice and Palmer can be heard shouting obscenities at each other, and she appears to spit toward Rice shortly before he throws the punch.
A previously released video showed the aftermath, with Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh addressed media and said he had not seen the inside-the-elevator video before Monday morning.
“It’s something we saw for the first time today, all of us, and it changed things, of course,” Harbaugh said. “It made things a little bit different.”
Harbaugh said he didn’t change his opinion of Rice after seeing the video and still wishes the couple well.
The release of the TMZ Sports video came less than 24 hours after the Ravens lost 23-16 to the Cincinnati Bengals, with Rice serving the first game of his suspension, and 1½ weeks after the NFL announced more severe punishment for domestic violence.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” league spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday. “That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
In announcing the new domestic-violence penalties Aug. 28 after public backlash to Rice’s two-game suspension, Goodell said in a letter to all team owners he “didn’t get it right” when he handed down Rice’s punishment in July. The new penalties include six games for a first offense and a potential lifetime ban for a second offense.
Rice was charged with felony aggravated assault in the case, but in May he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that allowed him to avoid jail time and could lead to the charge being eliminated from his record.
The casino where the incident took place closed last Tuesday.
Selected by the Ravens in the second round of the 2008 draft out of Rutgers, Rice rushed for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns, and caught 369 balls for 3,034 yards and six touchdowns over six NFL seasons.
Rice, listed at 5 feet 8 and 206 pounds, is the Ravens’ all-time leader in total yards from scrimmage (9,214) and he ranks first in the NFL in that category dating to the 2009 season. He also is the first player in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons.
President Obama is speaking out against domestic violence in the wake of Rice’s suspension.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he spoke Monday evening with Obama about Rice. Earnest said Obama believes domestic violence is “contemptible and unacceptable.”
The White House this week is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.
Ravens officials had used words such as “respect” and “proud” in referring to Rice after his arrest.
When the NFL announced Rice’s two-game suspension in July, general manager 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.”