Ray Rice Wins Appeal, Is Reinstated to the NFL

The Ray Rice case made news again this weekend as he won his appeal against the NFL and was awarded reinstatement into the league.  The crux of Rice’s argument is that the NFL subjected him to double-jeopardy when he was first suspended for 2 games, and then that suspension was increased without any new evidence coming to light.

Originally when the 2 game suspension was handed down, the public believed justice had been served, however the NFL and perhaps Rice had allowed the public to incorrectly reconstruct the events that night.  Popular opinion was that Janay Rice (Ray Rice’s fiancé) had struck him and then he had pushed her.  At that point she had fallen into the railing of the elevator, and that was what had knocked her out.  2 games sated the public’s cries for justice and everybody began to move on.  Then Deadspin released the video from inside the elevator showing the punch Ray Rice had thrown and the visual evidence was so disturbing that the public outcry was swift and overwhelming.  In effect, because the NFL had not expected the visual evidence to come out, they were now facing incredible pressure to further punish Ray Rice.  They caved to the outcry, punishing Rice  games, and the Ravens responded swiftly by terminating Rice within a week of the video’s release.  The basis of the legal case is that the NFL had seen the video before they handed down their first suspension.  The NFL denies this while the Ravens and NFLPA firmly assert the video was seen by the league.  If the league saw the video and still subjected Rice to two punishments then he would have a strong case in his appeal.

Rice’s legal team stated that Rice was honest and candid in his story the entire time, as well as cooperative with the NFL from the beginning of the investigation.  The NFL stated that the video was new evidence and as such further punishments could be applied.  And last week Judge Barbara Jones ruled in favor of Rice, and he was immediately reinstated into the league.  Jones released this statement, “I find that the NFLPA carried its burden of showing that Rice did not mislead the Commissioner at the June 16th meeting, and therefore, that the imposition of a second suspension based on the same incident and the same known facts about the incident, was arbitrary.”

While terrific news for Rice, the overturned suspension calls into question the NFL’s integrity and whether public opinion holds too much sway over their rulings.

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