NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ray Rice is set to challenge a league in crisis-mode on his suspension stemming from a February domestic incident, the NFL Players Association announced Monday.
Rice, who was originally banned two games, found himself suspended indefinitely by the NFL after video surfaced last week of him punching his now-wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator. The union will officially appeal his suspension on Tuesday.
The NFL upped its penalties for domestic violence offenders after outcry over Rice’s initial suspension, made after a first video showed him dragging Janay Palmer Rice out of an elevator at the shuttered Revel Casino. First-timers would face a six-game suspension under the new rules.
The NFL came down much harder on Rice after it said the second video showed “a starkly different sequence of events” in the elevator than the running back admitted to in his meetings with the league. But Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Rice’s description to the team was consistent with what they saw in the clip that prompted his release.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is under fire for his handling of the video, which he said he viewed for the first time on Sept. 8 despite a bombshell AP report that placed it in the NFL offices months ago. The NFL announced last week that former FBI director Robert Mueller would lead an independent investigation into the Rice case, and the findings will be made public.
“They had all the facts they needed,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “They had a player who admitted to beating his wife. They had video of him dragging her out of an elevator. There was nothing left to determine. That player should have been fired immediately.”
Gillibrand added that she “wouldn’t be surprised if we have hearings” about the matter.
Ray and Janay Rice released statements in support of each other last week. The couple showed up at a high school football game together Saturday in Ray Rice’s hometown of New Rochelle.
Though his jersey and photo are no longer hanging inside New Rochelle High School, the former star running back still has plenty of support, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported Monday.
“Although what he did was heinous and horrible everyone deserves the ability to come home again,” resident Marcy Klein said.
It was the family’s first public appearance since Rice was suspended.
Rice’s former coach said he deserves a second chance.
“The mistake he made will be erased by the good deeds he will continue to do and because of the good deeds that he’s done. New Rochelle will always be Ray Rice’s home,” Louis DeRienzo said.
The school district knew Rice would be attending the game, Champion reported.
Some said Rice’s attendance in and of itself offered a lesson to students.
“Let them learn that the reality is even those people (make) mistakes but they own up to (them). It’s good for the kids to learn that,” Randy Solomon said.
“I think it’s awful that anybody would go into somebody’s personal business like (that) and I think the guy needs a break,” Joan Pina said.
“That’s a good guy. He deserves a shot. Things happen, but I think he’s paid his price for that,” Patrick Parker added.
But not every New Rochelle resident was so quick to forgive Rice. Others said they were reserving judgment until they see what Rice does to make amends.
“It’s hard to accept what he did. I guess he’ll have to prove that he’s really sorry and see what he can do to make everyone believe him,” Karen Carforra told Champion.
“We all deserve second chances in our lifetime, but the question is how much do we allow a professional athlete to have that kind of mistake?” Debbie Geronimo added.
Rice has until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to file his appeal. But even if he’s successful, he’ll have to find a team willing to take him. Baltimore cut the 27-year-old after the video went public last week.
“I asked him about playing football, and he goes, ‘It’s not on my mind right now,’ ” WFAN co-host Craig Carton said on Sept. 10. “What’s on his mind is trying to repair the damage and making sure that people (know) that he is better, his relationship is better — they have a beautiful daughter together — and that’s what his focus is on right now.”
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