With the Ravens scheduled to play Week 2’s Thursday night game against the Steelers, running back Ray Rice is on track to return from his two-game suspension later this week, potentially rejoining his team on Friday. However, a new video from TMZ which shows Rice’s assault of his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City elevator, could potentially delay Rice’s return to action.
As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk wrote earlier today, if the NFL had yet to see the newly-public footage, the league could ultimately decide to re-open the case and reassess Rice’s punishment. Sure enough, as Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets, the NFL released a statement today indicating that no one in the league office had seen the elevator video until now, despite having requested it from law enforcement earlier.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links) reports that the Ravens also hadn’t seen the video until today, though a source said that Rice described what happened and didn’t “sugarcoat” details, meaning the description the team heard was in line with what the elevator footage showed.
While it may be true that the NFL and the Ravens hadn’t seen the video until this morning, the fact that TMZ was able to get its hands on the footage shows that it was obtainable, which raises some questions about how aggressive the league and the team were in attempting to view it.
It’s not clear yet whether the NFL will revisit Rice’s two-game suspension — the aforementioned statement about the video is the only comment the league has made so far. However, the NFL recently introduced a more punitive policy on domestic violence, which calls for a six-game ban for a first offense. With talk of a new drug policy retroactively wiping out current suspensions, it’s fair to wonder if the league will decide to retroactively add a few games to Rice’s ban, based on that new domestic violence policy.