NEW  ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Sports fans doing their holiday shopping in Times Square Friday weighed in on Ray Rice’s winning appeal, and as CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, reactions were mixed.

Outside Modell’s, one of the sporting goods stores that yanked Rice’s jerseys from its shelves, football fan Curtis Golphin said he’s leery of the decision.

“As for him being forgiven that easy, I don’t know,” he said.

Others say Rice should be allowed to make a living and play football, but there should be stipulation.

“He should possibly give a huge part of his salary to an organization for battered women.  That would be good,” one woman said.

An arbitrator ruled Friday that his suspension for punching his fiancee, now his wife, should be vacated immediately. The NFL said Rice, a free agent, is “eligible to play upon signing a new contract.”

Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones said Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision in September to change Rice’s original suspension from two games to indefinite was “arbitrary” and an “abuse of discretion.”

Rice made one of his first big public appearances after the scandal at a New Rochelle High School football game, the community supporting the former star then and now.

In Rice’s hometown, where he played high school football, fans are more forgiving.

“I think he deserves a second chance,” one fan said.

“He deserves that.  He’s a good guy.  He’s done a lot of things here in New Rochelle to help,” another said.

“I don’t think he deceived them at all.  I think it was all clear cut,” one told Kozar.

Steve Morris, the owner of Spectator Sports Pub—where the Rice case is the talk of the town—praises the arbitrator’s decision.

Morris and other pub regulars predict Rice will be back on the field.

“I think a lot of teams are going to turn around and be a little frightened of him only because it’s fresh in everyone’s mind.  Next season, I definitely think he’ll be in somebody’s camp,” Morris said.

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