Ray Rice is out of the NFL, indefinitely.
The Baltimore Ravens announced the termination of Rice’s contract on Monday, just hours after TMZ released disturbing video footage showing him punching then-fiancee Janay Palmer in February. The Ravens’ decision to cut Rice was followed by an announcement by the National Football League that he had been suspended indefinitely.
The #Ravens have terminated RB Ray Rice’s contract this afternoon.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 8, 2014
The release of the video footage sparked renewed outrage toward Rice, the Ravens and the NFL. Following his arrest for domestic violence for the incident that occurred in February in an elevator at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J., Rice received a two-game suspension from the NFL in July, a punishment widely criticized for being too lenient.
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Shortly after the Ravens announced the termination of Rice’s contract with the team, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the two-game suspension had been upgraded to an indefinite suspension, according to Greg Aiello of NFL PR.
Roger Goodell has announced that based on new video evidence that became available today he has
indefinitely suspended Ray Rice.
— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) September 8, 2014
The NFL claimed on Monday that it had not seen the video of Rice striking Palmer in the elevator prior to its release by TMZ. A video previously made public by TMZ had shown Rice appearing to drag a seemingly unconscious Palmer from the casino elevator. The couple were both arrested following the incident, with Rice eventually pleading not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault in May.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today,” the NFL said in a statement obtained by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
Rice, 27, avoided standing trial and was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program. He and Palmer were married in March. The couple subsequently appeared together during a controversial press conference held by the Ravens. In live-tweeting the press conference, the official @Ravens Twitter account highlighted an apparent apology from Janay.
Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) May 23, 2014
Following the backlash to the initial two-game suspension levied by the NFL, Goodell announced changes to the league’s policy on domestic violence in August. A first offense would result a six-game ban under the personal conduct policy with players who commit a second offense being banned for life. In a letter to owners, he seemed to admit that the league had failed to adequately punish Rice.
“I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will,” he wrote, according to CNN.com.