Earlier this summer, the NFL came under fire for only suspending Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games as punishment for beating his then-fiancée in February.
At the time the decision was passed down from the NFL, available video showed the football player dragging his unconscious fiancée, Janay Palmer, from an elevator in Atlantic City’s Revel Hotel and Casino. Today, TMZ released new footage of what went on inside the elevator — where Ray punched Janay in the face, knocking her into a metal railing and causing her to lose consciousness.
So far, it seems the NFL’s reaction is to be on the defensive. According to ESPN, league spokesman Brian McCarthy claimed “that video was not made available” and they were all viewing it for the first time. A representative from the Ravens said they have no comment. Ray is scheduled to return to the field for the first time this season on Friday.
Although some sports commentators are debating about whether the NFL should punish Ray again for the same incident, others argue anything the NFL could do would be insufficient considering the serious nature of the domestic assault.
“That man should be thrown out the the nfl and thrown into jail. Shame on those deciding his punishment,” tweeted Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. “If there’s anyway to open that case up and give this guy the punishment he deserves, it NEEDS to be done.”
When Ray’s two-game suspension and fines were announced in July, he called the incident “the biggest mistake” of his life and said that he wanted to “own it.” He was supported by Janay, whom he married in March.
“As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But Janay and I have learned from this,” he said at a press conference. “We have become better as a couple and as parents. I am better because of everything we have experienced since that night. The counseling has helped tremendously.”
Just last week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted in a letter to team owners that he “didn’t get it right” when deciding Ray’s punishment in July: “My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future reflect our values.”
Both Ray and Janay were arrested at the time of the incident in February on simple assault charges. At the time, his attorney called the fight a “minor physical altercation.” The count against Janay was later dropped; his was later upped to aggravated assault. He pleaded not guilty in May, allowing him to avoid jail time.
UPDATE The Ravens terminated Ray Rice this afternoon; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell then announced Ray is “suspended indefinitely” from playing in the league.