Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is set to return to the NFL after he won his appeal against his indefinite suspension by the NFL.
Rice has now been reinstated by the NFL with immediate effect and is now eligible to sign with any NFL team. The Ravens released him on September 1 following his suspension from the NFL after a video of his domestic assault against his partner was leaked.
The NFL had originally suspended him for only two games prior to the leak of the elevator incident, but subsequently NFL commissioner Roger Goodell used his force and suspended Ray Rice indefinitely.
Rice gets let off
But on Friday it was deemed by the former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, who heard Rice's appeal earlier this month, that Rice did not lie to or mislead NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
"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, according to ESPN.com.
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Judge Jones criticizes the NFL
Jones also wrote that the NFL's second suspension of Rice was "arbitrary" and that any failure on the part of the NFL to recognize the severity of the incident before the video was leaked was all the NFL's fault and not Rice, who had previously explained the incident in detail to them.
"The Commissioner needed to be fair and consistent in his imposition of discipline.
"Moreover, any failure on the part of the League to understand the level of violence was not due to Rice's description of the event but to the inadequacy of words to convey the seriousness of domestic violence. That the League did not realize the severity of the conduct without a visual record also speaks to their admitted failure in the past to sanction this type of conduct more severely."
In response, the NFL have accepted the decision of Judge Jones per tweet below from NFL insider Albert Breer.