Rice Wins Appeal; Could Be Bad News for Goodell

Ray Rice can play football again but we know it won't be with the Ravens. Will it be anyone for that matter?

In a relatively unsurprising decision, Ray Rice has been reinstated and can be signed by any team. Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones heard the appeal and released the decision yesterday. The following are excepts from her statement:

“In this arbitration, the NFL argues that Commissioner Goodell was misled when he disciplined Rice the first time. Because, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, I am not persuaded that Rice lied to, or misled, the NFL at his June interview, I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated,” Jones’ decision stated.

“I find that the NFLPA carried its burden of showing that Rice did not mislead the Commissioner at the June 16th meeting, and therefore, that the imposition of a second suspension based on the same incident and the same known facts about the incident, was arbitrary,” Jones also wrote.

“The Commissioner needed to be fair and consistent in his imposition of discipline.”

Jones went on to essentially say that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell abused power and was reckless in his laying of it. This is exactly what the NFLPA has been arguing all along not just in this case but in several other disciplinary situations.

Perhaps the take-down by US District Judge Barbara S. Jones will finally force Goodell to give up some power.

Goodell was brought in as commissioner with great fanfare because he was going to be the guy to “clean up the league.” We can point to some areas where he has but largely we can point to case upon case where his subjective and biased rule has been the norm.

The decision by Jones to reinstate Rice is the correct one. The league office has already accepted it; knowing that it’s binding there isn’t much area for recourse. This won’t end with Jones’ decision however.

What Jones implies in her findings is that someone isn’t telling the truth and that “someone” has to be Goodell and the NFL. Rice and his now-wife Janay have stuck to their story since the beginning and, according to Jones, it has been the NFL, Goodell and potentially the Ravens who have been talking from both sides of their mouths.

For her part, Janay Rice spoke with ESPN’s Jemele Hill and these were her first actual comments to the press. I find Hill getting the story to be odd since she has had a subjective look on athletes and their off-field problems since day one but that’s for another article.

What I took from this interview was that I don’t believe we are getting the truth and that’s fine as long as nothing ever happens again. Mrs. Rice explained what happened in the elevator and the comment about “as soon as Ray looked at his phone he spit at me and slapped me” speaks volumes to me. She claims she doesn’t know what they had been bickering about but remembers the phone coming out.

Nothing makes a woman more upset then when a man starts looking at his phone during an argument.

The other thing she says that concerns me is that “this was the only time he’s ever done this.” I call BS on that and if I’m wrong I’ll gladly eat crow but you just don’t defend someone so quickly who knocks you cold without something similar having happened previously. This is just my opinion but I’ve been on the planet long enough to see how these things work.

My gut feeling is that Rice will not get picked up this season simply because of the sideshow that will follow. I do think he’ll get a shot at training camps next summer but whether he joins a team or not I don’t know. What I do know is that Roger Goodell isn’t out of the woods just yet on this matter.