NEW YORK — Newly-discovered footage showing Baltimore Ravens’ star running back Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee from an elevator, and knocking her out has caused both league and team to increase their punishment of the three-time All-Pro. The Baltimore Ravens have terminated Rice’s contract with the team, and the league announced that they had suspended the star running back until such a time as the public no longer remembers the elevator incident.
“When [NFL] Commissioner Goodell viewed the additional footage, it became clear that he needed to increase the severity of Rice’s punishment or face yet another round of harsh criticism from the public,” said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. “Therefore the Commissioner has informed Mr. Rice that he is suspended indefinitely, at least until another player makes an even worse mistake, and the public loses interest in his case.”
The incident has led to the NFL toughening its domestic abuse policy. In his August letter to team owners, Goodell informed them that players or personnel who violate the league’s personal conduct policy with regards to domestic violence will be suspended for six games without pay. Additional games up to and including a life ban can be added to the suspension depending on the quality of any video footage of the offence that may turn up.
“The NFL does not condone unnecessary domestic violence done in full view of surveillance cameras,” said Goodell in a statement. “Our players have to understand that we are a public enterprise, with a duty to present our best face to the public. Any and all domestic violence has to stay within the privacy of their homes.”
The League insists that it had not seen the newly-released footage before now. “We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including a video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today,” said Aiello. “Obviously if we’d seen the video earlier, we would have done everything in our power to make sure it never saw the light of day. The NFL has a serious, endemic, domestic violence problem, and having one of our star players become the face of domestic abuse does not help ticket sales.”