Ex-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice won his appeal Friday for the indefinite suspension that the NFL slapped on him back in September. He has now been reinstated to the NFL, ESPN is reporting. Rice is now free to sign with any NFL team.
This ruling marks a victory for Rice, who was suspended indefinitely by the league after video footage surfaced of him punching his then-fiancée, now wife, Janay Rice, in a hotel elevator, knocking her unconscious. The domestic violence incident occurred in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, hotel this past February.
Rice's appeal was heard by ex-U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones earlier this month, before she ruled that the NFL crossed the line in changing the rusher's original two-game suspension after they saw the damaging surveillance footage of him punching his then-fiancée. Part of Jones's hearing was listening to league commissioner Roger Goodell testify about the ordeal.
Friday's decision comes on the same day Janay Rice recounted the entire February incident to ESPN's Jemel Hill.
"There was something different about that day. The two of us were just off, starting that morning. I was annoyed because it was Valentine's Day and Ray and one of his friends had planned a group trip to Atlantic City, while I had wanted to do something with just the two of us," Janay Rice begins explaining.
She continues to explain that they each became intoxicated, before violence erupted.
"As we were arguing, he was on his phone and not looking at me," she recalled. "I went to reach for his phone, and when he grabbed it back, he spit at me and I slapped him. We got into the elevator and what happened inside is still foggy to me. The only thing I know — and I can't even say I remember, because I only know from what Ray has told me — is that I slapped him again and then he hit me. I remember nothing else from inside the elevator. The next thing I do recall is being in the casino lobby, surrounded by cops."
She states that she and the NFL running back have made strides in her relationship since then, despite having to relive the painful February ordeal months later.
To read Janay Rice's chilling account of the incident and her relationship with Rice, click here.
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(Photo: Nick Wass, File/AP Photo)