On Monday, September 8, TMZ Sports released a video showing former Baltimore Ravens runningback Ray Rice striking his then girlfriend Janay Palmer in the head, rendering her unconscious. The incident occurred on February 15 at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in a closed elevator.
The video, shot by a security camera located inside the elevator, shows Rice and his now wife entering the elevator, having an apparent heated argument. Once the doors of the elevator close, the two draw closer to one another. They exchange swings at one another, before Rice’s hand makes contact with Palmer’s head, knocking her head off a metal hand rail and forcing her to lose consciousness. Once they arrive at their desired floor, Rice can be seen dragging Palmer’s limp body out of the elevator.
In the hours following the release of the video, the Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice’s contract, leading to his immediate release from the team.
Minutes after Rice’s release from the Ravens, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, making it impossible for Rice to sign with another team.
But how did it come to this?
According to ESPN.com, on the night of February 15, both Rice and Palmer were charged with simple assault.
Four days later, TMZ released a video showing Rice dragging Palmer’s unconscious body out of the elevator.
On March 27, Rice was indicted by a grand jury on a third-degree aggravated assault charge. Meanwhile, the charge against Palmer was dropped. The following day, March 28, Rice and Palmer got married.
On May 1, Rice pleaded not guilty to the third-degree aggravated assault charge, and applied for a pretrial intervention program. A pretrial intervention program is a program offered to certain defendants, usually first time offenders, which allows those defendants to avoid formal prosecution.
On May 20, Rice was accepted into the pretrial intervention program, meaning as long as Rice completes the yearlong program, his charges will be dropped.
On June 16, Goodell met with Rice and Palmer to discuss what happened on the night of the incident and on July 27 the NFL announced that Rice was suspended for the first two games of the NFL regular season.
There was a lot of backlash towards the NFL because many thought this suspension was not enough. The weight of the punishment did not reflect the weight of the crime.
Goodell felt the pressure of the public, and subsequently revamped the NFL’s personal conduct policy regarding domestic violence on August 28. Now, a first time offender will receive a six-game suspension and a second time offender will receive a lifetime ban from the NFL.
Then, the footage from within the elevator was released, letting the world see what happened that night in that elevator.
The world knew what had happened prior to TMZ’s video release. The details of the incident were put into a police report immediately after the incident occurred. However, seeing the incident rather than reading about it made what happened seem much worse in the eye of the public.
The Ravens will have to find a way to move on with out Rice this season. Just two seasons removed from winning the second Super Bowl in their franchise’s history, they are a shell of their old team.
Going into the 2013 season, the Ravens had lost eight starters from their Super Bowl Championship squad. Most notably, future Hall of Fame Without those eight starters, the Ravens finished outside of the playoffs for the first time since 2007, with an 8-8 record.
Rice was a huge part of the Ravens Super Bowl run in 2012, recording over 1,000 yards rushing, averaging 4.4 yards per carry, scoring 10 total touchdowns during the regular season, and notching two more scores in the playoffs.
2013 was a different story for Rice. Eight starters physically left the Ravens roster, but last season a ninth never showed up in terms of production. Rice rushed for 660 yards, at only a 3.1 yards per carry mark, and scored 4 touchdowns. His production was down big time last year when compared to years passed. However, he is still on the right side of 30 and he is a 3-time Pro-bowler. There was no reason to believe Rice couldn’t have a bounce back year in 2014.
Billy Reardon is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at WR783095@