NFLPA files Ray Rice appeal


As expected (but a day later than expected), the NFLPA has filed an appeal of the NFL’s indefinite suspension of Ray Rice.

“This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players,” the NFLPA said in a statement.

“The NFLPA appeal is based on supporting facts that reveal a lack of a fair and impartial process, including the role of the office of the Commissioner of the NFL,” the union added.  “We have asked that a neutral and jointly selected arbitrator hear this case as the Commissioner and his staff will be essential witnesses in the proceeding and thus cannot serve as impartial arbitrators.”

The union is right, on both counts.  Regardless of Rice’s behavior, he has rights.  He has been suspended twice for the same conduct.  The NFL arguably knew or should have known all it needed to know about the details of Rice’s behavior when levying the initial two-game suspension.

The league contends Rice lied about what happened.  The hearing will sort out what he said about what he did, to the team and to the league.  Apart from the testimony from witnesses like Rice, Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome (who has said Rice didn’t lie), and others, the appeal will attack the league’s failure to secure the video of the incident.  If there was any doubt or ambiguity or inconsistency or perceived lie, all the league had to do was get the tape.

“Under governing labor law, an employee cannot be punished twice for the same action when all of the relevant facts were available to the employer at the time of the first punishment,” the union said in its statement.  “The hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available.”

Amen to that.  At a time when the investigator hired by the NFL isn’t as independent as he could have been, this process will create another avenue for getting to the truth.  By rule, a hearing date must be set within 10 days.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get to the truth?  After eight days of no one from the NFL or a handful of its teams wanting to confront the truth in a variety of cases, this appeal could eventually get to The Truth about the Rice video — and it could end up being far more relevant and useful to determining the future of the league office than a not-so-independent investigation overseen by two of the NFL’s owners who necessarily support the status quo.

41 responses to “NFLPA files Ray Rice appeal

  1. I’m starting to worry about Goodell. He hasn’t been seen in over a week. Should we put flyers up?

  2. Not that it’s in the realm of possibility, but I’d love to see the suspension doubled for having the gall to appeal, regardless of the technicality.

    You don’t do what he did; just walk away. If she incited him the way the story may now be being spun, then walk away faster, thank her for the warning, and never see her again. Don’t knock her out, then marry her.

    That’s a special kind of stupid.

  3. If there is a neutral arbitrator (and there should be) the transcripts should be public.

    None of this sealing the testimony like Tags did during the bounty hearings.

    The fans deserve to know if the NFL has any credibility or if we are watching WWE.

  4. It’s possible that he didn’t “lie”, but he didn’t tell the truth.

    For example:

    Ray Rice: She came at me and attacked me and was trying to slap me and then I struck her in the head with my hand. (This statement is technically “true”).

    However, the reality as was shown in the video- Ray seemed to spit on her (and seemed to be the instigator) and out of disgust and agitation she smacked him away after being spit on and then Ray just unleashes a vicious left hook on her out of no where.

    While his statement may have technically been “true”, it may not have told the full story or described it as it actually happened. In my opinion, there is room for the NFL say they didn’t get the complete full truth until they saw the video.

    America was kind of upset when they heard that he “struck his fiancé” in the head… it wasn’t until they SAW the video and how it all played out that got everyone fired up.

    Was America “lied to” with the original statement that she was struck in the head?? Well… No… but it didn’t tell tell the full story… not even close. The video was needed to see how bad it really was.

  5. well this when the term “due process” actually has meaning, he has the right to appeal for being disciplined for the same offense “twice”, he should get his day in court, pun intended, and if he gets unindefinitely suspended then no team should touch this guy for the forseeable future, we are such a second chance country, if he proves he’s changed after a lot of time has passed, he’ll proably get another shot, but he will have to be on Michael Vick level with domestic abuse awareness and not to mention he will need to stay maried to Janay and of course not hit her ever again, I dont care how big her mouth is or she does physically or verbally abuse him first, let the due process play out, he’ll probably get a second chance anyway,

  6. Didn’t Roger change the NFL policy on domestic violence on 8/28/14 to impose a suspension of 6 games for first time offenders and lifetime ban for a second offense? The inside the elevator assault tape was released on 9/8/14. Even if Roger threw out the first suspension, according to his new rule, Ray Rice could only be suspended for 6 games as a first -timer.

    The new policy also only mentions about domestic violence occurring in view of a child. Guess Roger needs to draw up a new policy regarding child abuse. He must have thought he had it all covered until AP was found out about who he is away from the game.

  7. This may be the first time in my life, but I agree 100% with the union. There are no new facts that have emerged. The video showed pretty much what was expected. If you say different, please explain what you expected to see.

    Goodell is using the video as an excuse to cover up his lame first punishment. Ray Rice should have gotten 8 -12 games. That said, the NFL should not get a do-over just because they botched the call.

    Also, the media and talking heads over-reaction to this is ridiculous. One idiot claimed this stems from guys saying “you throw like a girl”. Really? If you are going to go there, call out your beloved rap music that revels in denegrating women instead of some light-hearted playground razzing.

    I would venture to say that might have a closer cause-and-effect link

  8. I’m with ray and the union on this. Commissioner said first offense carries a six game suspension. Not an indefinite suspension. Ya can’t have it three ways commish. He set the bar for first time offenders, now honor it

  9. I have no problem with this personally. The Ravens would have released Rice anyway so that would stand. The NFL though screwed this up big time by at first giving him a two game suspension. The NFL then comes out with a new rule suspending first time domestic violence cases for 6 games. So what does the NFL do, suspend Rice indefinitely. Before people mis-interpret my post, I agree whole heartedly with the Ravens releasing him. What the NFL did though with his suspension was messed up….Egg on the NFL face all around though.

  10. Anyone with a brain knows Rice should’ve been out after the first video. However, the nfl has misstepped. Hate to say it but Rice should be reinstated based on the original punishment. Sucks but Roger made his bed…

  11. It would be nice to ever hear the truth from Comm. Goodell on any matter.

    1) Player violence;
    2) The relationship of player violence to brain injury;
    3) The long-term consequences of untreated, undocumented, and undiagnosed brain injuries; and
    4) The malpractice of administering Performance Enabling Drugs such as Toradol.

  12. Regardless of what he did…..sounds to me he SHOULD be reinstated after 2 game suspension and imo the NFL should honor his contract for the remainder of the season….because of the the damage the NFL did by mishandling the entire process.

  13. So the best case scenario for Rice is what? He gets reinstated, is still cut, no NFL team will touch him because he’s toxic, but he can play in Canada?


  14. As well they should. Goodell screwed the pooch on this one.

    Rice deserves the punishment, but Goodell messed up the process so badly, they have no choice but to appeal.

  15. I suppose they had to do this, but this organization (why do I say it in my head like a Canadian Hockey player?) is being drivin by guys in a Clown Car….

  16. So, the NFLPA went from conducting a investigation into “what happened”, to filing an appeal on behalf of Rice.

    Despite your inconsistent opinions on this issue, I think the union is right in this instance. Goodell and the NFL are lemmings in the PC movement. Examples? How about this ridiculous action each and every October for breast cancer? Never mind that far more men die each year from prostate cancer than do women from breast cancer, it is absurd to make us look at that sea of Pink for a minimum of 1/4 of the season each and every year. Want another example? Michael Sam. The NFL office called each of the 31 other teams after the Rams cut Sam and failed to be signed to the St. Louis practice squad. Anybody think the NFL does this for any other 7th round draft pick? My guess is the NFL also asked the Rams to draft the guy in the first place.

    In the Rice matter, Goodell met with Rice and his wife. He probably thought the PC thing to do was give the guy a two game suspension and come off as a compassionate, caring good guy. Then, when the inside the elevator video came out, like most PC freaks, Goodell and the NFL lacked a backbone and decided to slam the guy with a indefinite suspension. No matter what one thinks of Rice hitting his wife, it is unfair to Rice for him to be punished twice for the same incident solely because Goodell lacks a backbone.

    Goodell’s actions are driven by his pandering to what he thinks the PC police want.

  17. And guess what? He’s got a good case.

    I hope to see him play later this year.

    Enough with the witch hunt.

  18. WHO is protecting Ray Rice? The NFLPA is! Why? Because he pays dues to them, they have a vested interest in his ability to continue to pay dues to them.
    But you ppl continue to blame Goodell for EVERYTHING!

    How about we blame Obama is one of his federal workers gets arrested for something? After all, he is in charge of the Executive branch of the Federal govt so he is responsible for the actions of EVERY one of his employees, right?

    Oh so you disagree? Oh ok so you apply one set of rules to the private sector and another set to the public sector.

  19. Even if his suspension is lifted,

    No team with any sense will sign him with that video out there, and the PR nightmare he would bring.

  20. While Ray Rice’s actions were inexcusable, I totally support this endeavor by him and his legal team. By going down this road it forces the NFL to show its hand in defending itself against Rice’s charge of Double Jeopardy.

    I would love to see Roger and the NFL make the case in court that they did not have access to the elevator tape.

    Please, Roger, continue to hold onto the idea that anyone anywhere believes you were anything but incompetent (and arguably complicit) with this case from the beginning.

  21. The NFL may or may not have seen a video prior to disciplining a player that had not been charged and take enormous flack for it, yet the union stands by said player and the sports media and mainstream media in general is silent? What an amazing double standard. But I expect no less from the enabling media in this country.

  22. Any takers? I’m betting Ozzie changes his story. He’s gonna say he was misunderstood and that Rice did lie to the team. Ozzie will have to protect his team and the league as Rice is no longer part of either

  23. So trying Rice and Goodell in the media is the totally correct thing to do.?

    The CBA, NFLPA, NFL and the legal system all have multiple and conflicting rules to navigate through this unprecedented mess and the media wants to blame one person?

    Whatever happens don’t hold the defendant responsible for his behavior and actions!


  24. Thw NFLPA brought this upon itself by burying its head in the sand during all the outcry.

    They let PR bury Goodell and were happy as long as one mentioned the Union at all.. and now they get to defend the players they let get railroaded.

  25. I’m predicting this is going down a road that is going to lead to the removal or resignation of Goodell. It’s going to be an ugly year for the NFL offices.

  26. It would not shock me if the suspension is over turned. The NFL did a poor job of investigating the situation. Then in there desire for quick action they suspended him for 2 games. Even if tough “women beater” Rice wins he ultimatly looses no team in the USA will touch the man

  27. I am betting Newsome gets an earful from his owner, prior to this. The owner has already come out and said Rice lied, and so has Goodell. Meanwhile Newsome finds himself on the lonely island with Rice, defending this loser’s story. I would hate to be in that position, given that he may never get a job again for going against his owner.

    Comical that the Union stood by silently while this whole thing took place, and allowed their own player to go down in flames.. only now to cry foul because there is a PR opportunity.. What a clown show.. I hate unions and think they should be outlawed to begin with

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