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Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife on Thursday completed their testimony in an appeal hearing on his suspension from the NFL, according to sources with knowledge of the proceedings.
League commissioner Roger Goodell was not present for the hearing on Thursday, although Rice was in the room when Goodell testified for more than two hours on Wednesday. Rice also testified for more than nine hours on Wednesday at the hearing in the New York offices of former U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones.
The NFL suspended Rice indefinitely on Sept. 8 after the full surveillance video of him hitting his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City casino elevator was published by TMZ days earlier. The incident happened in February and the couple married a month later. Rice avoided jail time by agreeing to counseling in a "pre-trial intervention" deal with New Jersey prosecutors.
Before the full-length video was released, the NFL had suspended Rice for just two games at the start of the 2014 season. Rice's attorneys argue that he cannot be punished twice, citing lines of the league's collective bargaining agreement with players. The Baltimore Ravens dropped Rice from the team after the indefnite suspension.
Jones was jointly picked by the commissioner and the players' union to hear the appeal. It's unclear how long Jones will take to make a decision but she has asked NFL and the NFL Players Association, handling the appeal on behalf of Ray Rice to submit written closing arguments by the end of next week.
In a statement released after the hearing concluded, the NFL Players Association thanked the judge for her time and said, "this is the first time in the history of our League that a disciplinary hearing has been conducted pursuant to a joint agreement on a neutral arbitrator. We commend NFL owners and officials for the wisdom of this decision which enhances the credibility and integrity of our business."
- Goodell testifies for two hours on Wednesday
- Judge could focus Rice appeal hearing on what Rice said, not what NFL knew