Ray Rice has won his appeal against the NFL and is eligible to play immediately:
Ray Rice has won his appeal, per a league source.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) November 28, 2014
Rice had been suspended since Sept. 8 following the public disclosure of a videotape that showed Rice striking his then-fianceé in an Atlantic City elevator. Rice had been suspended for two games prior to the release of the videotape, but in the wake of public outrage — Rice knocked Janay Palmer unconscious with a punch — the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely.
The NFL maintained that it had not seen the incriminating videotape when commissioner Roger Goodell levied the two-game suspension this past summer.
However, Rice argued that the NFL was in possession of all the facts of the case at the time of punishment, and that he was in effect being punished twice for the same offense. Rice appealed the NFL's decision at a hearing in early November, a hearing at which Goodell testified before arbitrator Barbara S. Jones, a former U.S. District court judge.
''We respect Judge Jones's decision to reinstate Ray Rice from his indefinite suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy in an incident of domestic violence,'' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email to The Associated Press.
At that hearing, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome indicated that in discussions with Goodell, Rice had confessed to hitting Palmer. But Goodell and the NFL maintained that Rice had been less than truthful in his account of the night in question.
Jones wrote in her decision, "'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."
Rice was released by Baltimore in September and is currently a free agent. He is eligible to be signed by any team, though there is considerable question about whether he'll be able to contribute to a team on the field or overcome what would surely be substantial protest against him off it.
And keep up with Jay over on Facebook, too.