Celebrity news website TMZ earlier today released footage that they obtained showing the elevator altercation that took place between Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and then-fiancée Janay Palmer, during which the latter was rendered unconscious.
The video is graphic and calls into question some of the supposed arguments that Rice made in his defense, allegedly to the league, to team officials, and to teammates. This comes following months of unwavering support.
Hours after the footage was publically released, in fact, the Ravens announced that they have terminated his contract. The organization had been unapologetically defending him, including hosting a press conference in which he was asked no questions.
According to Pro Football Talk, he began rapidly losing support in the locker room after the video was published, with one teammate essentially telling the site that Rice lied about what happened and suggested that Palmer was the instigator.
In the video, Rice and Palmer are seen walking toward the elevator as Rice gestures forward, evidently saying something to instigate anger, and Palmer is seen half-heartedly slapping at him.
Once the elevator doors close, the confrontation escalates, with Rice appearing to continue verbally harassing Palmer. As she flexes her elbow outward, Rice takes a swing at her face. She raises her hand in defense and then approaches him, at which point the professional athlete punches her in the face with a left cross.
Palmer’s head seems to hit the railing on the elevator wall before she tumbles in a heap on the floor. Rice’s actions from this point on seem abundantly casual as he drags his fiancée’s body partway out of the elevator. He makes little effort to avoid scraping his feet against her as he steps over her.
League officials earlier today released a statement claiming that they had not seen the video until today, and that the request from the police investigation to view the video had not been granted.
This is in contrast to an article from Peter King earlier this year, in which he mentions “the other videotape the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen, from the security camera inside the elevator at the time of the physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée”.
Soon after Rice’s release, the league followed suit by announcing that he will be suspended indefinitely.
The league came under heavy fire after the running back was suspended for only two games, in response to which commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to all team owners outlining new discipline for domestic violence violations that begin with a six-game suspension for first offenders. The new policy leaves open the possibility for more severe punishment relative to the circumstances of the individual case.
Either way, it’s becoming clear that Rice would have a hard time finding any locker room environment in which he will be welcomed at this point, as players from around the league have expressed their belief that he should be banned from the league. It’s certainly possible that he never plays a snap in the NFL again.