Ravens terminate Ray Rice’s contract after elevator-beating video released

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(CNN) -- The Baltimore Ravens have terminated the contract of running back Ray Rice, the team announced Monday, the same day a shocking video surfaced showing the NFL star punching his then-fiancee in February.

The news release from the NFL team was terse.

"The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon," it read.

Rice had been suspended by the league for the first two games of the season, a controversial move that led to widespread criticism and to the league re-evaluating the punishment for domestic violence cases.

The new video shows Rice punching Janay Palmer, who is now his wife, inside an elevator at a hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, seven months ago.

TMZ released surveillance footage of Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer to the ground. (TMZ)

TMZ released surveillance footage of Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer to the ground. (TMZ)

TMZ Sports posted the video Monday showing Rice and Palmer entering an elevator. Inside the elevator, Rice punches Palmer. Palmer lunges after Rice, and then Rice hits her back and she falls to the floor.

Previously, TMZ Sports had released hotel surveillance video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. This is the first time video has been released that shows Rice punching her.

A few months after the incident, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice without pay and fined him an additional game check for "conduct detrimental to the NFL." However, no one in the NFL offices, including Goodell, had seen the newly released footage of the incident until Monday, the league told CNN.

Ray Rice: 'My actions were inexcusable'

"We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator," NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said. "That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today."

The NFL has previously said that Rice entered a pretrial intervention program in May. Under the program, he won't be prosecuted, and the charges will be expunged after one year.

In a press conference in July, Rice said his actions were "inexcusable" and that he and his wife are in counseling.

"We're taking the necessary steps to move forward," he said. "My job is to lead my family. My job is to lead my wife. My job is to lead in whatever I do. And If I'm not being the example, then my family crumbles."

Goodell has already been scrutinized for suspending Rice for just two games, months after the first video aired. Many felt the suspension wasn't enough, and in August, the commissioner himself agreed.

In a letter to all NFL team owners, he said the league had fallen short of its goals in its handling of the Rice case: "We allowed our standards to fall below where they should be and lost an important opportunity to emphasize our strong stance on a critical issue and the effective programs we have in place."

"I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will," he added.

Some NFL fans have questioned why Ravens head coach John Harbaugh would call Rice "one heck of a guy," and why the Ravens would tweet out "Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident."

They have also questioned why Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon would be suspended for a year after testing positive for marijuana when Rice was suspended for just two games.

In his August letter to team owners, Goodell said the league will institute a six-game unpaid suspension for personnel who violate the league's personal conduct policy when it relates to domestic violence. A second domestic violence incident would be punished by a lifetime ban from the league.

6 comments

  • mike

    I guess i’ll have to give the Ravens credit for ridding themselves of this menace called Ray Rice. But if you look at it, this is more of an indictment on Goodell and his failure to act on the matter from the start. A wake up call needs to be inserted here, that domestic violence is simply unacceptable. The video showing Ray Rice knocking out his wife is all you need to know, so i guess good for the Ravens for having a backbone. Goodell showed that he didn’t have one.

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  • Randy

    It was no doubt a bad thing that Rice did to his girlfriend and i think he should be fined big time for it but i don’t think he should be banned from the NFL we all make bad mistakes in life that we regret but God forgives us for our mistakes who are we to not give a person a second chance let him with out sin cast the first stone

  • Stacy

    Randy, yes he does need to be banned from the NFL. This person is an idol to millions of young men. And let’s get it straight, this was no “mistake”. The kind of abuse he put on that woman is not a one-time a thing. He deserves to banned from the NFL and to go to jail as well. We as a society cannot condone or make excuses for this guy, or anyone. And certainly not someone who is in the public eye setting examples for our children.

    • david lovesett

      so if I was man and you hit me you should be banded from your job for life rite that’s what you are saying so now what if he was a white guy would it be the same thing too I don’t think so all this is because he’s black

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