The NFL will suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games following his arrest this offseason on an assult charge, according to an ESPN report Thursday.
Rice allegedly struck his fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City elevator in February, knocking her unconscious. In the video below, Rice is shown dragging Palmer out of the elevator. Rice, a running back and 3-time Pro Bowler, pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated assault and avoided a trial or jail time by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program.
Rice will not be paid during the suspension, in which he will miss games against the Bengals and Steelers. Rice, who makes $7 million per season, will be fined $58,000 by the NFL.
Outraged fans and media members took to Twitter Thursday to rail against a fine they deemed insufficient.
Somedays it is hard to respect the NFL, today is one of those days. Roger Goodell, Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens, all disgraces to football— Just Blog Baby (@JustBlogBaby) July 24, 2014
It's a good thing Ray Rice didn't hit his fiancé with the crown of his helmet. #NFL decision is stunning/disappointing.— Robert Flores (@RoFloESPN) July 24, 2014
The decision follows a May press conference in which Rice and the Ravens were criticized for their handling of the incident. Choosing his words poorly for an incident involving domestic abuse, Rice said, in part, “I won’t call myself a failure. Failure is not getting knocked down; it’s not getting up.’’ Palmer, who was knocked unconscious, actually apologized for her role, saying “I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night.’’
This week, Ravens coach John Harbaugh stood by his player, saying, “There are many sides to every story,’’ Harbaugh said. “There are a lot of factors. There are other people involved; there are other disciplinary situations involved around the league.’’
The Twittersphere took a strong stance against the league’s decision, especially in light of other possible NFL discipline. Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a year-long suspension for smoking marijuana. Indy’s Robert Mathis got four games for using an infertility drug. In 2012, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would crack down on DUI and domestic violence cases.
"We are going to do some things to combat this problem because some of the numbers on DUIs and domestic violence are going up...— Eric Wilbur (@GlobeEricWilbur) July 24, 2014
...and that disturbs me," Goodell said. "When there's a pattern of mistakes, something has got to change." - Roger Goodell, 2012.— Eric Wilbur (@GlobeEricWilbur) July 24, 2014
To many, the league’s words seemed hollow.
"We have a real opportunity to show the world that the NFL stands against violence toward women." "So...2 game suspension?" "Seems good."— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) July 24, 2014
In perfect world, Ray Rice would have more problems in @nfl locker room than Michael Sam.— dré (@Andy_Fenelon) July 24, 2014