NFL running back Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens Monday afternoon, after a new video of a domestic violence incident involving his then-fiancé, Janay Palmer, who is now his wife, was released by TMZ. The video depicts the player striking Palmer in the face and knocking her unconscious.
The incident took place in February in an Atlantic City casino elevator. A previously released video of the incident showed Rice dragging an apparently unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. When this video was initially released, Rice was suspended for two games. With the release of the attack itself, Rice has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL and has been dropped by the Ravens.
The NFL has also revamped its domestic violence policy, implementing a six-game suspension for a first offense and an indefinite suspension of at least one year for a second offense. The league tends to take an aggressive stance against players who are accused of crimes, including drug-related offenses, DUI (driving under the influence), weapon charges and violent crimes and is known to enforce suspensions and bans following arrests and convictions.
Though Rice initially received support from fellow players and even the Ravens general manager and head coach, the newly released video did little to help his case and he was released from the team. It is unlikely that another team will be willing to take him on, regardless of whether is "indefinite" suspension from the NFL is lifted.
After the release of the initial video, which TMZ also released, showing Rice dragging Palmer's unconscious body from an elevator on February 15, both Rice and Palmer were charged with simple assault. The Atlantic County prosecutor's office dropped Palmer's charge in March, but Rice was indicted by a grand jury on a more serious charge: third-degree aggravated assault. Rice and Palmer were married on March 28.
In May, the running back entered a pretrial intervention program available for first-time offenders that would clear his record of the charges, including participation in counseling. Without such a program, Rice would have faced three to five years in state prison if convicted.
This case brings about important issues related to domestic violence allegations and charges. In this particular scenario, Rice has received a considerable amount of media and political attention because he is a professional athlete. This and the release of the video depicting an altercation between the former NFL player and his then-fiancé could have a considerable impact on his case if it does go to trial.
In addition to facing potential imprisonment and other criminal penalties, domestic violence allegations can influence a person's career and livelihood. For example, Rice is now indefinitely suspended from playing in the NFL. He may also be dealing with ostracism by certain teammates, family members and friends. Both Nike and EA Sports have also ended their affiliations with the former player. His endorsement deal with a jump training program called VertiMax was also terminated, and his jerseys have been pulled from shelves in various sporting goods stores and from the online NFL shop.
For more information about domestic violence charges and your rights if you have been accused, formally or informally, of such an offense, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at Lessem & Newstat can offer experienced guidance. Our firm is committed to protecting our clients' constitutional rights in such emotionally charged issues. Call today for a confidential consultation.