Former judge to preside over Ray Rice appeal

Getty Images

Two days after the Ray Rice appeal hearing should (in theory) have been conducted, the NFL and NFLPA have selected a hearing officer to handle it.

The NFLPA and NFL have announced that former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones has been appointed to preside over the hearing and to decide whether Rice’s indefinite suspension should be overturned.  Previously, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith advised union leadership that Commissioner Roger Goodell had agreed to the selection of a neutral arbitrator.  The announcement indicates that the parties consulted on the selection of Judge Jones, and that the union agreed to it.

Judge Jones was appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1996.  She left the post in 2013 and joined the firm of Zuckerman Spaeder.

“We are grateful to Judge Jones for taking on this role,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a release announcing the appointment. “She will have our full cooperation as she hears and decides this appeal.”  (Presumably, this means Goodell will give complete, non-evasive answers when testifying at the hearing.)

And now the process will begin of taking a closer look at Judge Jones’ background, ruling, and past and present clients in an effort to determine whether she brings any bias or inclination to this assignment.  The appointment by a Democratic president typically suggests that the judge will be more open-minded to individual rights, and more willing to scrutinize decisions made by management.

24 responses to “Former judge to preside over Ray Rice appeal

  1. “I did not have………..relations with that woman.” Oops….wrong case.
    Good luck to all as somewhere down the line is a fall guy/gal for sure.

  2. Funny how former judges receive nice little contracts to “judge” others.
    He who pays the judge is the ultimate jury.

  3. On the one hand, you have a judge that received an appointment to the bench from a Democrat. On the other, you have a judge who is a woman. Seems like it should be balanced.

    The NFL might have made the right call here.

  4. I can’t possibly see how the NFL justifies the

    “We make laws as we go”

    Stand… or will they try to justify it as

    “We make laws as TMZ dictates”

  5. The political party is largely irrelevant as often times president’s will appoint judges who don’t always agree with their party lines. Bill Cinton wasn’t hyper partisan like today’s politicians so I find it hard to judge her based on the letter next to her name. I think what’s more relevant here in terms of bias is that she’s a woman but then again, this isn’t a difficult case.

  6. This whole thing is hilarious. A private organization is dancing through our collective hoops to satisfy the media’s rantings. We are the idiots in all of this, the people who continue to make the NFL an establishment on par with the federal government. It’s a game and a business everyone, nothing more, nothing less.

  7. Hehe, it appears Goodell is now more than happy to let someone else make a ruling and avoid any fallout. And I don’t believe a male judge was ever considered…..

  8. what’s being judged is not whether or not Rice hit his wife. its if the NFL is allowed to revisit the punishment

    Ray will make the case that he accepted punishment for his crime and the NFL is trying to punish him twice for the same event.

  9. I do believe that there was an agreement that for PR reasons, both the NFL and NFLPA wanted the hearing officer to be female. That said, there is no reason to think this would lead to a “bias.” Some of the commenters here seem to be strangely upset by her gender. “oh my, a female judge? next they’ll be driving cars!” Silly misogynists.

  10. The judge will rule that the original 2 games suspension will stand because you can’t penalize him twice for the same offense. Then he will be placed on the Commissioners List with AP and the others because they still can’t/won’t let him come back to play football, just in case someone wants to sign him.

  11. Slam Dunk. Rice will get a 6 game suspension per NFL rules for a first time DV offender. Tape or not it does not matter. Like it or not case closed.

  12. Really? This will now begin: “And now the process will begin of taking a closer look at Judge Jones’ background, ruling, and past and present clients in an effort to determine whether she brings any bias or inclination to this assignment.” That should have been done prior to selection. Oh, it’s you media type who will now do this. LOL!

  13. The judge will rule that the original 2 games suspension will stand because you can’t penalize him twice for the same offense. Then he will be placed on the Commissioners List with AP and the others because they still can’t/won’t let him come back to play football, just in case someone wants to sign him.
    —————————–
    Well, that would still be double punishment for the same crime I think

  14. It is not at all unusual in labor management agreements to have a provision where a mutually agreeable party is designated to rule on an issue. It is known as binding arbitratioin. The judges in this kind of case are ruling on just one thing and that is was the punishment meted out in line with the contract/policies/prior history of the employer. In other words, did management have just cause to issue the punishment they did.
    I think managemnent in this case is vulnerable as the original punishment was a 2 game suspension, a change to a 6 game suspension put in place after the fact and then an indefinite suspension given to Rice which appears to have no basis for substantiation in the bargaining agreemnet or subsequent issuances pertaining to it.
    My guess is that the indefinite suspension gets overturned and a six week suspension is imposed with credit for time already served.

  15. The NFL is now in the court of ‘Judge Judy’. Very fitting. Expecting the about same amount of shenanigans taking place here as on the TV version.

  16. Geez, give me a break with this: “The appointment by a Democratic president typically suggests that the judge will be more open-minded to individual rights”

    It could be also said that an appointment by a Democratic president typically suggests that the US Consitution is merely a starting point to deviate from in pursuit of some liberal politically correct mind set that changes with the wind.

    How about the judge merely look at the facts and determine if the punishment level can be supported within the framework of the labor agreement?

  17. I wish people had some idea as to what they were talking about before they offered their “educated opinions”. Alas, why would that be a prerequisite for opining on this matter?

    The only question is, was Rice punished twice for the same conduct. It isn’t binding arbitration, but the appeals process as collectively bargained between the owners and the NFLPA.

    The gender of the judge or the president’s party who nominated her to the federal bench are immaterial.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.