Federal Judge Finds Goodell’s Story Was A Lie, Immediately Reinstates Ray Rice To NFL


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An arbitrator has reinstated former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who had been suspended indefinitely for a brutal domestic violent incident, to the NFL, effective immediately.

Rice is accused of assaulting his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, at an Atlantic City hotel last February. Initially, a video was released showing Rice dragging Palmer on conscious out of the casino elevator immediately following the alleged assault. In June, the NFL heard from Rice during a disciplinary hearing and suspended him for two games.

In September, TMZ acquired video from inside the elevator showing the assault itself.

Following the release of the video, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claimed that Rice misled the league about what had transpired in the elevator. Goodell told CBS News that “when we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.” He said in a league letter that the video depicted an incident that was “starkly different” than the account relayed to him by Ray Rice.

Goodell said the “new information” in the video to justify revising Rice’s punishment and suspended him indefinitely.

But a federal judge, in an arbitration proceeding, rejected Goodell’s claims and found that Rice was truthful in the June proceeding. U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones found that “Rice did not mislead the Commissioner at the June 16th meeting, and therefore, that the imposition of a second suspension based on the same incident and the same known facts about the incident, was arbitrary.” Jones found that the Commissioner was not “fair or consistent” in his punishment. She also admonished the league for their failure to take domestic violence more seriously, prior to a public backlash.

ESPN personality Bill Simmons was suspended in October for calling Goodell “a liar.” Simmons claim, however, was backed up by ESPN’s own reporting and, now, a federal judge.

Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress