The Baltimore Ravens have cut running back Ray Rice after a longer video showing him violently beating wife, then fiancée, in an elevator surfaced online. The video was obtained by TMZ earlier today and shows what took place between Rice and Janay Palmer before she was dragged out of the elevator during the altercation, which took place in February.
The Ravens offered only a brief statement on the matter, "The Ravens have terminated RB Ray Rice's contract this afternoon."
At 2:41 p.m., the NFL offered this statement, "Roger Goodell has announced that based on new video evidence that became available today he has indefinitely suspended Ray Rice." This means Ray Rice cannot be signed by another NFL team and must apply to the commissioner's office to be reinstated. His previous two game suspension was due to expire this week.
Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel was told that Rice may have been terminated as his version of the story did not match what was shown in the video. It is unclear if NFL and Ravens officials had access to the video before they made two game suspension decision. Sports Illustrated's Peter King originally reported officials had seen the tape, and today, updated his story to say, "The league says it has not seen the tape, and I cannot refute that with certainty." He also notes that prior to today, the NFL and Raven's officials had not disputed his original story. After TMZ posted the story, the NFL stressed they did not see the complete tape.
Dick's Sporting Goods stores in the Baltimore area were told to pull Ray Rice jerseys from shelves immediately after the NFL announcement. One store in the area told The Wire that customers have come in to return Ray Rice jerseys. Rice's #27 jersey was still available for sale online. A local pizza joint in Baltimore is allowing the jerseys to be traded in for free pizza:
At the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest was peppered with questions about Rice at his daily briefing, which occurred just as the Ravens announced their decision on Twitter. Earnest said he hadn't seen the news yet, but he reiterated President Obama's support for combatting domestic violence. When asked if Obama had seen the video himself, Earnest noted that the president was "an avid sports" fan but said he didn't know. "I do know that the president is aware of the situation as it relates to the Ravens running back," Earnest said. "I don't know if he has seen the video." Obama's preferred outlet of sports news is SportsCenter. Marco Rubio had this to say, "Ray Rice should be banned by NFL for life & charged with battery by authorities. No excuse for what he did and should not be any 2nd chance."
Rutgers, Rice's alma mater, will decide later this week if they will remove footage of him from their pregame highlights video.
Because the Ravens chose to terminate Rice's contract, he will be able to keep his $15 million signing bonus. To date, he has been paid roughly $25 million of the 5-year, $35 million contract he signed in 2012, according to the website Spotrac. The rest, about $9.5 million is not guaranteed, and will not have to be paid.