NFLPA Formally Appeals Ray Rice's Indefinite Suspension
By Zach Seemayer
The NFL Players Association, pro-football's labor organization, filed their expected appeal of Ray Rice's indefinite suspension, and has requested that the appeal not be overseen by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFLPA released a statement reading, "Today, the NFL Players Association formally filed an appeal of the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice by the NFL. This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players. 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 27-year-old running back, who had been a member of the Baltimore Ravens, was arrested and indicted for third-degree aggravated assault in March. A video surfaced which showed Rice punching his then-finance (now wife) Janay Palmer in the face, knocking her unconscious.
Before the video surfaced, when allegations of the assault were first reported, Rice was given a two-game suspension. After the violent security footage went public, Commissioner Goodell increased the punishment to an indefinite suspension, and Rice's contract with the Ravens was terminated.
Goodell explained the increase in the severity of the punishment, stating, "This video shows a starkly different sequence of events from what you and your representatives stated when we met on June 16, and is important new information that warrants reconsideration of the discipline imposed on you in July. Based on this new information, I have concluded that the discipline imposed upon you in July was insufficient under all the circumstances and have determined instead to impose an indefinite suspension."
However, reports have surfaced, according to the Associated Press and reporters for ESPN, that the NFL had been given a copy of the tape long before the first two-game suspension had been levied against Rice. Goodell and the NFL deny these reports.
However, according to the NFLPA, "Under governing labor law, an employee cannot 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."
The NFLPA argue that a form of legal double jeopardy may apply to this case.
Watch the video below to see what Brooklyn Nine-Nine star and former NFL player Terry Crews had to say about the Ray Rice controversy.