Ray Rice Appeals NFL Suspension: Latest Details and Comments

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2014

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Updates from Wednesday, Nov. 26

NFL.com's Albert Breer has an update on when we may learn the verdict of Ray Rice's appeal:

 

Updates from Sunday, Nov. 23

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reports when a decision will be made on Ray Rice's potential reinstatement:

Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension has been under review for roughly 10 days, with the judge's ruling expected before Thanksgiving. That was the timeline given at the time lawyers for the NFL, the NFLPA and Rice submitted their final briefs and arguments in the case.

Many felt the decision would have come by the end of last week, but with Rice making the case for immediate reinstatement and the NFL season approaching its final six weeks, both parties were under the impression final word on the matter was going to come in all likelihood by this Monday.

 

Updates from Tuesday, Nov. 11

TMZ.com reports that Rice will break his silence on the charges he faces in an interview with Matt Lauer:

Matt Lauer has won the war for Ray Ricebooking the disgraced NFL star to appear on the "Today" show for an exclusive sit-down interview during sweeps...TMZ Sports has learned.

It's unclear if Ray's wife Janay Rice will participate in the interview.

We're told the interview is expected to air sometime between now and Nov. 26.

 

Updates from Monday, Nov. 10

Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun reports when a decision in the Ray Rice suspension appeal is expected to be announced:

It won't be that much longer before a decision is rendered in the appeal of indefinitely suspended former Ravens running back Ray Rice.

The third-party arbitrator who presided over the hearing that concluded last Thursday has informed lawyers to file their briefs by this Thursday with a decision expected to be handed down no later than 10 days afterward, according to sources with knowledge of the case.

Under that timetable, Rice and the NFL would know by Nov. 24, at the latest, if his bid for immediate reinstatement has been successful.

 

Updates from Thursday, Nov. 6

ESPN's Outside The Lines provides information on Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome's testimony:

Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press reported more details of how Thursday's proceedings in the Rice appeal went: 

A hearing for Ray Rice appealing his NFL suspension concluded Thursday after two days and testimony from the former running back and the head of the league.

Rice and his wife Janay Rice left the hearing separately on Thursday about three hours apart after each testified at the New York office of a neutral arbiter. The arbitration hearing will determine whether the NFL overstepped its authority in modifying a two-game suspension of Rice, making it indefinite after video of the running back hitting his wife was released by TMZ. ...

... Two people familiar with the case said Thursday there's no timetable for the former federal judge presiding over the case to make her decision. Both spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the arbiter has told the sides not to discuss details of the private hearing.

The NFLPA released a statement following today's session:

The NFLPA thanks Judge Barbara Jones for presiding over a fair and thorough hearing. This is the first time in the history of our League that a disciplinary hearing has been conducted pursuant to a joint agreement on a neutral arbitrator. We commend NFL owners and officials for the wisdom of this decision which enhances the credibility and integrity of our business.

The collectively bargained rights of all players must be vehemently preserved and we take that obligation seriously. This appeal, presided over by a neutral arbitrator, which included a presentation of all the relevant facts, witness testimony to the truth and cross examination, is the due process that every athlete deserves.

One NFLPA source wondered if all of the evidence of the case would ever be released, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson:

The NFLPA source also text this, "Has anyone...publicly asked for a release of all evidence after the (Ray Rice appeal) hearing is over?" The source added, "Why wouldn't every news organization ask for all of the evidence to be publicly released as a way of demonstrating credibility and transparency."

Bleacher Report's Jason Cole breaks down Thursday's news and ponders Roger Goodell's future after the Rice hearing:

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio provided more on Rice's appeal:

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Judge Jones has asked that written briefs be submitted by the end of next week by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

The briefs will characterize the testimony of eight witnesses:  Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL V.P. of security Jeff Miller, NFL senior V.P. of labor policy and government affairs Adolpho Birch, NFL in-house counsel Kevin Manera, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome, Ray Rice, Janay Palmer Rice, and NFLPA in-house counsel Heather McPhee.

 

Updates from Wednesday, Nov. 5 

Tom Pelissero of USA Today provides an update on Rice's appeal:

ESPN's Josina Anderson provides the latest on Rice's position on the NFL's handling of his punishment:

ICYMIonTV: An NFLPA source told me It'll be the position of the Union & Ray Rice that "the league knew everything about what happened inside, outside the elevator before they even spoke to Ray Rice...We think we can prove it. We'll see.

Anderson also passed along details on the meeting between Rice and Roger Goodell in June:

 

Updates from Sunday, Nov. 2

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported the latest on Ray Rice's appeal:

Per a league source, former federal judge Barbara S. Jones has issued a gag order, preventing the lawyers or the parties from talking about the case.

It’s unclear whether either side asked for it or whether Judge Jones made the proclamation on her own.  It also will be difficult for her to enforce the order; if someone is committed to blabbing and if the reporter to whom the blabbing occurs respects a request for anonymity, there’s nothing she can do.

In a normal court case, the judge could try to compel the reporter to blab.  Judge Jones has no jurisdiction over any reporters — except for reporters employed by the NFL via NFL Media.

 

Updates from Monday, Oct. 27

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the latest in Ray Rice's appeal of his suspension on his Facebook page:

NFL has placed a $1,411,765 charge against Ravens’ salary cap to reflect pending Ray Rice grievance against team, per sources. The charge was levied against Ravens earlier this month, and then the NFLPA updated its documents with the charge late last week. It’s considered normal practice for the NFL to hold salary-cap space on a team until a grievance is resolved.

 

Updates from Tuesday, Oct. 21

Ray Rice's appeal hearing has been scheduled, according to a report from ESPN.com:

The hearing on Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension from the NFL will be heard Nov. 5-6, according to ESPN and media reports.

NBC News was the first to report the dates.

A decision on whether NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will testify at the hearing is expected this week.

 

Updates from Sunday, Oct. 19

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora explains how Ray Rice could be reinstated next month:

Former Ravens running back Ray Rice remains suspended indefinitely following the publication of the video of him striking his now-wife, Janay, in a casino elevator, but he could be reinstated within the next four weeks, sources said.

An appeal hearing date has been set, with a final decision expected to come in an expeditious manner thereafter, and all of that could be resolved by mid-November, which would conceivably allow Rice to sign with another team this season.

Perhaps, even if reinstated, teams will find him too controversial to sign, but there is every expectation his playing status will be resolved before the NFL's investigation into its handling of his case, being conducted by former FBI chief Robert Mueller, is completed.

 

Updates from Thursday, Oct. 2

The NFLPA released a statement announcing who will hear Ray Rice's appeal:

The statement also passed along a comment from Roger Goodell on the appointment of Jones:

“We are grateful to Judge Jones for taking on this role,” said Commissioner Goodell. “She will have our full cooperation as she hears and decides this appeal.

 

Updates from Monday, Sept. 29

Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reported the latest on Ray Rice's appeal:

Chris Mortensen added, after ESPN obtained the info via an email copy:

In the email, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told the union's executive board that 'for the first time ever, the league in the Rice appeal has agreed to a neutral arbitrator' in a personal conduct disciplinary case.

Both sides have submitted candidates for the arbitration, and according to Smith, the union will "confer with the league shortly regarding the final choice of the arbitrator."

(...)

'This occurs in the context of a difficult set of facts and circumstances [but] it is a positive movement on the overall question of neutral arbitration and a fair personal conduct discipline process,' Smith wrote.

 

Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 17

NBC Sports' Mike Florio (via the ProFootballTalk Twitter feed) reported on who would be overseeing Rice's appeal:

 

Original Text

Former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice and the NFL Players Association have officially filed an appeal of the indefinite suspension handed down by the league following the release of a video showing the running back striking his then-fiancee and current wife, Janay Palmer.

Brian McIntyre of NFL.com provided the statement from the NFLPA:

Rice won't be reinstated by the league during the appeal process, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk:

The NFL contends that Rice remains suspended until his appeal is resolved, or until his suspension ends.

"After the suspension was announced, we said:  Teams have been notified that any contract between a team and Ray Rice will not be approved or take effect until further direction is provided from the commissioner’s office," the league advised PFT by email.

The NFL originally suspended Rice for two games due to the incident. However, TMZ Sports later posted graphic footage from inside an Atlantic City hotel elevator that showed him punching Palmer, leading to massive public backlash against the veteran ball-carrier, the Ravens and the NFL.

The team decided to release Rice on the same day TMZ posted the video. A short time later, league spokesperson Greg Aiello announced Commissioner Roger Goodell had increased Rice's punishment to an indefinite suspension based on the video evidence.

That has become a point of contention, however.    

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 16:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens sits on the bench against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of their preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press reported a law enforcement official sent the elevator video to the league offices in April. The person also claimed to have received confirmation the tape had arrived but was unable to verify who watched it.

"The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived," Maaddi's report reads. "A female voice expresses thanks and says: 'You're right. It's terrible.'"

Goodell has insisted he didn't see the latest video until TMZ Sports posted it online. In an interview with Norah O'Donnell of CBS This Morning, he said he was unaware of anybody within the league viewing the tape prior to that, as CBS News noted:

No one in the NFL, to my knowledge, and I had been asked that same question and the answer to that is no. We were not granted that. We were told that was not something we would have access to. On multiple occasions, we asked for it. And on multiple occasions we were told no. I understand that there may be legal restrictions on them sharing that with us. And we've heard that from attorneys general and former attorneys general.

A growing chorus of voices is calling for the commissioner to resign due to his handling of the league's domestic violence crisis. That group includes the National Organization for Women (NOW), which also sought further improvements to the protocol for such incidents:

The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign, and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.

As for Rice, he's maintained a relatively low profile since the situation erupted. Rich Schapiro and Denis Slattery of the New York Daily News reported he attended a high school football game at his alma mater with his wife and daughter over the weekend.

Rachel Nichols of CNN passed along brief comments from him a few days earlier:

An appeal is just the next step in what's likely to become a lengthy process.

While the action may make it seem as though the players' union is attempting to defend Rice's indefensible act, it's far more complicated. The union may be attempting to shed light on Goodell's mishandling of the situation, from the initial suspension to upping the ante for the same crime.

By appealing on Rice's behalf, the NFLPA could be trying to set a precedent so that its members are clear on what's to be expected in the future. Goodell has had the final say in terms of handing out penalties for personal misconduct. This could lead to a push for some semblance of a democracy.

More information about the appeal and how it will be dealt with should become available in the days and weeks ahead.