by Barry Wilner
NEW YORK (AP) – Ray Rice has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL, the players’ union said Friday.
NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah told The Associated Press in an email that “I can only confirm the suspension has been vacated, effective immediately.”
The appeal was heard earlier this month by former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones. She was deciding whether the NFL overstepped its authority in modifying Rice’s two-game suspension, making it indefinite after video of the Baltimore Ravens running back punching his fiancee- now his wife, Janay – became public.
The Rices testified at the hearing, as did NFL security chief Jeffrey Miller and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.
Rice was released by the Ravens and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the suspension indefinite shortly after the video was made public. But Rice and the union claimed he was essentially sentenced twice.
In her decision, Jones wrote:
“Because Rice did not mislead the commissioner and because there were no new facts on which the commissioner could base his increased suspension, I find that the imposition of the indefinite suspension was arbitrary. I therefore vacate the second penalty imposed on Rice. The provisions of the first discipline – those regarding making continued use of counseling and other professional services, having no further involvement with law enforcement, and not committing any additional violations of league policies_still stand.”
The NFL did not immediately comment on Friday’s decision by Jones.