As former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice prepares to appeal his indefinite NFL ban, the key question will be exactly when league officials saw the footage of Rice punching his then fiancée in an Atlantic City elevator. Former federal judge Barbara Jones will hear arguments from Rice on Wednesday and Thursday.
Rice says that the NFL subjected him to double jeopardy when it extended his initial suspension. According to Rice, he was punished twice under the same facts when the two-game suspension was upped to an indefinite ban after the elevator footage was circulated. The two-day scheduled hearing will take place in New York.
So Rice contends what the many commentators have believed since the video's release on Sept. 8 — that the video was not new evidence for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Rice says that he readily supplied details to the NFL after he was arrested domestic violence last February. The NFL has repeatedly said that the video was new evidence that spurred his indefinite ban. So which is it?
Either way, this is about to get messy. Goodell has been ordered to testify when he knew about the video, which based on his slimy behavior in all of this could have been much sooner than he admits. Rice is trying to save face for something awful that he indisputably did.
It will be up to Judge Jones to decipher all of this. Luckily, she's used to people defending themselves against terrible things. According to NPR, Jones presided over Goldman Sachs cases and WorldCom CEO fraud charges. NPR's report described her as a fair, no-nonsense judge, which is exactly what this case needs to cut through all of the fat. Criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman told NPR's Joel Rose:
Sometimes you try to do anything you can to engage the judge to perhaps - sort of a little bit of misdirection, so to speak. Not with Judge Jones. She's very fair, very down the middle. The one thing that you're going to get from Barbara Jones - you're going to get exactly what you deserve.
All I can say is finally. I'm not looking for any justice for Rice, but if the NFL is covering up its knowledge of the video it needs to be brought to light. Both sides will present evidence and arguments and call witnesses for cross-examination. Jones will determine the status of Rice's appeal on her own timeline.
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