Now that’s what the NFLPA would call independence and neutrality.
Per a league source, former U.S. Judge Barbara S. Jones has rejected the NFL’s indefinite suspension of former Ravens running back Ray Rice. In her designated role as the hearing officer for Rice’s appeal of his suspension, Judge Jones has overturned the suspension.
This outcome, which was expected, presumably means that Rice will be reinstated immediately. (Unless, of course, the NFL puts him on the Commissioner-Exempt list.)
Rice and the union contended that the league lacked the ability to suspend him a second time for conduct that the NFL already knew about. The league claimed that Rice had not been truthful in his explanation of the events.
Eligible to play or not, it’s unlikely that teams will be lining up to sign Rice. For starters, it’s unknown what kind of shape he’s in. Also, his age, wear and tear, and the distractions inherent to his domestic violence situation will make it harder to justify adding him to a team.
Then again, teams that find themselves in the running for a playoff berth could decide to set aside principle in the hopes of reaching for a silver trophy.