BALTIMORE — The NFL players’ union appealed Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension Tuesday night.
Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL’s personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault following a Feb. 15 altercation with his then-fiancée in a casino elevator.
The Baltimore running back had already served the first game of that suspension when, on Sept. 8, a video surfaced showing Rice punching Janay Palmer, now his wife, in that elevator.
Within hours, the Ravens released Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended the suspension to indefinite based on the “new evidence.”
Goodell and the Ravens say they never saw the video before Sept. 8.
“This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players,” the NFL Players Association 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. 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 NFLPA said that the collective bargaining agreement requires a hearing date be set within 10 days of the appeal notice. It also said the hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available.
The union, which had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to file the appeal, added that under governing labor law, an employee can’t 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.
Rice can apply for reinstatement when he convinces Goodell that he is “addressing this issue.” Rice has been accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the assault charge being dropped.
There is apparently no precedent for the indefinite suspension Rice received after the video surfaced.
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