NFL hearing on ex-Ravens running back Ray Rice ends

Thu Nov 6, 2014 5:31pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - A two-day hearing in New York on former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's challenge to his indefinite suspension from the National Football League for punching his then-fiancee ended on Thursday.

Rice, a six-year NFL veteran, claims that he was suspended twice for the same offense, which would be a violation of labor laws.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who reportedly testified for two hours on Wednesday, suspended Rice for two games in July for punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, at an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino.

But when surveillance video emerged of the knockout punch in September, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely and the Ravens released the running back and his $35 million contract.

Details of the midtown Manhattan hearing were few since the arbitrator, former Judge Barbara S. Jones, issued a gag order on the proceedings.

The NFL players union called the hearing "fair and thorough."

"This appeal, presided over by a neutral arbitrator, which included a presentation of all the relevant facts, witness testimony to the truth and cross examination, is the due process that every athlete deserves," the NFL Players Association said in a statement.

Goodell has said he did not see the video of the punch until it went viral, that Rice's prior explanation of the incident was "ambiguous," and he considered the video as new evidence.   Continued...

Former Baltimore Ravens NFL running back Ray Rice and his wife Janay arrive for a hearing at a New York City office building November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar