Ray Rice has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season for his involvement in a domestic violence incident with his wife Janay Palmer at a casino over the winter. Given that the public was shown a video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of an elevator and police reportedly had footage of the Baltimore Ravens running back knocking her out, many felt a two-game suspension was far too light.
Palmer, who was Rice’s fiancee at the time of the incident, has been nothing supportive of Rice since his indictment. In fact, Peter King of The Monday Morning Quarterback reports that Palmer pleaded with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to go easy on Rice.
Rice’s wife, a source said, made a moving and apparently convincing case to Goodell during a June 16 hearing at Goodell’s office in Manhattan — attended by Rice, GM Ozzie Newsome, club president Dick Cass of Baltimore; and Goodell, Jeff Pash and Adolpho Birch of the league — that the incident in the hotel elevator was a one-time event, and nothing physical had happened in their relationship before or since. She urged Goodell, the source said, to not ruin Rice’s image and career with his sanctions.
Plenty of people feel that Rice should have been suspended for at least four games, as evidenced by the change that was made to his Wikipedia page last week. Was Palmer the reason Rice got off with what seems like a slap on the wrist?
Jonathan Lehman of the New York Post confirmed that Palmer met with Goodell and company, noting that her “impassioned plea” was “instrumental in limiting the length of Rice’s league suspension.”
If there was no video of the incident, I could understand Goodell being influenced by Palmer’s apparently convincing speech. But there is footage of some of the assault, and it makes Rice look really, really bad. There’s no question he is fortunate to have escaped with a two-game ban.