Ravens cut Ray Rice
UPDATE: Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL has retroactively suspended Rice indefinitely.
The Baltimore Ravens terminated running back Ray Rice's contract on Monday, following the release of a second video showing him punching his now-wife in a casino elevator.
The video, posted by the website TMZ, shows Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Rice, getting on an elevator, briefly after she flung her hand at him in the hallway. Inside the elevator, Rice hits her twice, with the second punch to the head knocking her out.
Rice was suspended for two games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after meeting with them. The suspension drew a lot of outrage due to the lenient punishment. Goodell and the NFL have since announced a new discipline policy where domestic violence offenders will receive a mandatory six-game suspension upon first offense. A lifetime ban, with the chance of reinstatement, comes on the second offense.
Rice has been a focal point of the Ravens since his second-round selection in the 2008 draft. In his previous six seasons, Rice rushed for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns, while totaling 3,034 yards and six touchdowns in the receiving game.
Since Rice is a vested veteran, he is eligible to be picked up by another NFL team. However, given the circumstance, it is unlikely Rice is signed by anyone — at least for the 2014 season.
Though the Ravens finally did the right thing by releasing Rice on Monday, it should not be underscored how poorly the organization and the NFL handled this matter. The Ravens defended Rice from the beginning, downplaying the incident on social media and on their official website.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, not recognizing the seriousness of domestic violence, spoke with Janay Rice about the incident in the presence of her husband, who knocked her out in an elevator. Given the magnitude of what domestic abuse victims go through, this was an egregious act for the commissioner to allow.
As far as football goes, the Ravens have four running backs to turn to for the remainder of the season in Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Fitzgerald Toussaint. Forsett appears to be ready for a starting role after running for 70 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in Baltimore's 23-16 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.
Follow me on Twitter: @JasonHButt