Ray Rice Wins Appeal, Eligible To Return Immediately To NFL

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Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has successfully won his appeal and is immediately eligible to return to the National Football League.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was one of several reporters to share the news over Twitter on Friday:

The Ravens terminated Rice’s contract in September after the release of surveillance footage showing the former Pro Bowl running back punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, and knocking her unconscious inside an Atlantic City hotel elevator.

The same day, the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely in what amounted to a huge about-face for the league. Rice was originally dealt only a two-game suspension by the NFL after he was indicted for third-degree aggravated assault in March.

The league eventually acknowledged that it mishandled the Rice suspension and instituted a tougher policy for domestic violence and sexual assaults. But it wasn’t until TMZ released the jarring elevator footage that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a harsher punishment.

Rice announced in September that he would appeal the lengthy suspension. His case was handled by former federal judge Barbara Jones.

Jones concluded in her decision that Rice did not lie when he met with Goodell

“Because Rice did not mislead the commissioner and because there were no new facts on which the commissioner could base his increased suspension, I find that the imposition of the indefinite suspension was arbitrary,” she wrote, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I therefore vacate the second penalty imposed on Rice. The provisions of the first discipline — those regarding making continued use of counseling and other professional services, having no further involvement with law enforcement, and not committing any additional violations of league policies_still stand.”

This post has been updated.

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