On Sunday, multiple sources told PFT (and eventually others) that Ray Rice would appeal his indefinite suspension on Monday. On Monday, one source told PFT that the timetable had been delayed by a day.
The source said that multiple factors influenced the decision to wait until the final day of the appeal period, including a decision to submit with the appeal a written request that Commissioner Roger Goodell relinquish his authority over the appeal of personal-conduct policy cases.
Apart from Goodell already having prejudged the question of whether Rice told the team and the league the truth regarding what happened in that elevator, Goodell will be a witness, whose version of the events and other key questions will have to be considered by the hearing officer for accuracy and credibility. In most cases, there’s no factual dispute over what happened; the issue is simply one of discipline. In this case, Rice and, presumably, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome will testify that Rice didn’t lie. Others apparently believe he did.
That conflict shouldn’t obscure the question of whether the NFL knew or should have known what the video showed, even if Rice or anyone else on his behalf downplayed the violence that knocked out Janay Palmer Rice. Whether it was an open hand, a closed hand, a shove, a push, an elbow, or any other specific type of blow, Rice strike her hard enough to knock her out. The NFL knew that, the NFL apparently didn’t bother to stop and think what that looked like, the NFL suspended him only two games for it, and the NFL arguably shouldn’t be permitted to suspend him again for something he’s already been suspended for.
Rice’s ultimate argument will be that his second suspension had nothing to do with new evidence, and everything to do with the NFL bending to the will of public pressure, starting with the initial suspension of only two games and reaching critical mass once that video emerged eight days ago. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Rice, he has rights — and it’s important that the rights of all players to not be disciplined multiple times for the same infraction be respected.