Former Baltimore Ravens Running Back & Wife Beater Ray Rice Wins Appeal of Indefinite Suspension, Reinstated to the NFL (Update: Some Teams Interested)
RICE WINS APPEAL BUT WHO IS CRAZY ENOUGH TO SIGN HIM.
Yesterday, former Baltimore RB Ray Rice won his appeal against the NFL for lifting his indefinite suspension. Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones ruled in favor of Rice to have him reinstated to the NFL, following his fiance/wife (Janay Palmer) beating incident. However, what team is going to be crazy enough to sign Rice and deal with the media circus and rightful protests from organizations against domestic abuse? Just because some one has been reinstated to play in the NFL does not mean that they will be signed to play. Currently, the Denver Broncos are in need of a running back in their playoff drive, bus=t is the risk/reward worth it?
“I would like to thank Judge Barbara Jones, the NFL Players Association, my attorneys, agents, advisors, family, friends and fans — but most importantly, my wife Janay,” Rice said in a statement released by the NFLPA on Friday. “I made an inexcusable mistake and accept full responsibility for my actions.
“I am thankful that there was a proper appeals process in place to address this issue. I will continue working hard to improve myself and be the best husband, father and friend, while giving back to my community and helping others to learn from my mistakes.”
Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, who heard Rice’s appeal earlier this month, concluded in her decision, which was obtained by ESPN, that Rice did not lie to or mislead NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Because, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, I am not persuaded that Rice lied to, or misled, the NFL at his June interview, I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated.”
An abuse of discretion. As much as sports commissioners prefer that bad news breaks on Friday afternoons (never mind the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving), when people are busy fleeing the office and diving into their weekend plans, Goodell couldn’t escape the magnitude of this rebuke.
The commissioner gave Rice only two games after seeing the first video — the outside-the-elevator video — despite the horrifying images of the running back dragging his unconscious fiancée, Janay Palmer, and dropping her face-first to the floor. Goodell admitted he “didn’t get it right” and introduced tougher domestic policy measures — a six-game ban for the first offense, a potential lifetime ban for the second — only after outrage from fans, sponsors and the news media forced him to act.
Jones’ report said Goodell called Rice after that policy change and made it clear to him the terms of his punishment wouldn’t change. But when the second video surfaced, showing the very violence any reasonable witness would’ve imagined by watching the first video, Goodell knew he was in deep, deep trouble.
Sorry, but running backs are one of the most interchangeable positions in the NFL. Add that to the pass-happy NFL. It is the reason why very few are ever drafted in the top 10 anymore. It is doubtful that any team would pick him up this year and want to deal with the PR and the disruption it might cause in the locker room.
At least four teams have expressed interest in recently reinstated running back Ray Rice, including Indianapolis and New Orleans, though the Colts and Saints are not expected to pursue him, according to multiple league sources.
Two sources declined to identify the other two teams that have been checking into Rice.
It still will be difficult for Rice to find work this season. He turns 28 in January, is coming off a down season and hasn’t played football since training camp. But Rice signing this season is not out of the question, either, if the right team should emerge.
Multiple NFL executives have said the profile of a team willing to sign Rice would be one that is a contender with injuries in its backfield and a strong-minded head coach.