Ray Rice, banned from the NFL last week after TMZ released the video of him punching unconscious his fiancee in February, will fight the indefinite suspension through the NFL Players Association.
The league originally levied a two-game suspension on Rice. A few weeks ago, the NFL instituted a domestic violence policy that called for a six-game suspension for first-time offenders and a permanent ban for second-time violators.
But after the release of the footage a few days later, the Baltimore Ravens released their star running back, which it has the right to do, and the NFL changed his suspension from two games to indefinite, which is a point of contention for Rice.
At issue will be how the NFL went from two games to indefinite, even skipping over the six-game ban it instituted after it had reprimanded Rice, a first-time offender.
Rice must file the appeal by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday — three business days after the NFL officially notified the players’ union of the suspension.
The NFLPA still has not finalized its plan on a basis for the appeal and is considering multiple options, according to ESPN.
The two-game ban drew widespread criticism of the NFL’s policy on domestic violence, prompting the tougher penalties. Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that he “didn’t get it right” in a letter to team owners with the initial minor punishment of Rice.
But public outrage intensified this past week in the aftermath of the circulation of the video, which clearly showed Rice punching Janay Palmer, who is now his wife, in the face. She hit her head on a railing inside the elevator and was knocked unconscious.
The NFL and the Ravens both have repeatedly said that they saw the video footage from inside the elevator for the first time when it was released by TMZ last week.
But an anonymous law enforcement officer told The Associated Press that he personally sent a tape of Rice striking Palmer to an NFL executive in April, sparking further scrutiny of Goodell and the league. A team headed by a former FBI chief is investigating.