Ray Rice cut by Ravens, banned by NFL after new assault video surfaces
TMZ posted footage showing running back hitting then fiancée
Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Monday, hours after TMZ posted a video showing the running back striking his then fiancée in an elevator at an Atlantic City hotel earlier this year.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he met with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome after they saw the video and they made the decision to let Rice go.
"It's something we saw for the first time today, all of us," Harbaugh said. "It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different."
The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ravens?src=hash">#Ravens</a> have terminated RB Ray Rice's contract this afternoon.—@Ravens
After the Ravens made their announcement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted that commissioner Roger Goodell has banned Rice indefinitely "based on new video evidence that became available today."
Roger Goodell has announced that based on new video evidence that became available today he has indefinitely suspended Ray Rice.—@gregaiello
Rice had been serving a two-game suspension from the NFL for the incident, which became public in February when TMZ posted a video showing Rice dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer out of an elevator.
The video released Monday is considerably more graphic. Rice is shown striking Palmer, who hits him back before Rice knocks her to the ground with a punch. When the elevator door opens, Rice drags her out.
TMZ said it altered the surveillance-camera footage to "smooth it out."
In a higher-quality video shown to The Associated Press by a law enforcement official Monday night, Rice and Palmer can be heard shouting obscenities at each other and she appears to spit at Rice right before he throws the knockout punch. After she collapses, he drags her out of the elevator and is met by some hotel staff. One of them can be heard saying, "She's drunk, right?" And then, "No cops." Rice didn't respond. The video -- slightly longer than the TMZ version and with audio -- was shown to AP on condition of anonymity because the official isn't authorized to release it.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said the TMZ video was "disturbing to watch."
Smith, who spent Monday visiting the Seattle Seahawks practice facility as part of a 32-team tour, said he has not spoken with Goodell since the video came out, but that the union has an "unshakable position against any violence, certainly domestic violence included."
'Contemptible and unacceptable: Obama'
Even U.S. President Barack Obama is speaking out against domestic violence in the wake of Rice's termination.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he spoke Monday evening with Obama, who, as an American and the father of two daughters, believes domestic violence is "contemptible and unacceptable." Obama said real men don't hit women, regardless of whether it's in public or private.
Earnest said stopping domestic violence is bigger than football and all Americans have a responsibility to stop it. The White House this week is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.
NFL denies having previously seen video
Rice's two-game suspension, announced in late July, was widely criticized for being too lenient.
The NFL subsequently announced it would toughen its punishment for domestic violence, making first-time offenders subject to a six-week suspension while repeat offenders face a ban of a year or more.
On Monday, the league said it hadn't seen the latest video when it decided on the two-game suspension.
"We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator," Aiello said. "That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today."
The Ravens also said they had not seen it until Monday.
TMZ later reported that no one connected to the NFL asked Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City for the video from inside the elevator.
Canadian Football League commissioner Mark Cohon on Monday informed teams that the league will honour the NFL's suspension of Rice, making him ineligible to play for a CFL team.
Rice 'failed miserably'
Rice and Palmer were married a few weeks after the incident and Rice was indicted by a grand jury on third-degree aggravated assault.
Rice was accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the charges being expunged.
Palmer sat beside Rice at a May media conference at which Rice apologized and said, "I failed miserably, but I wouldn't call myself a failure because I'm working my way back up."
Palmer said at the media conference: "I do deeply regret the role I played in the incident that night. But I can say that I am happy that we continue to work through it together."
With files from The Associated Press