After months of speculation as to what really happened in an elevator back in February between Ray Rice and his now-wife Janay, the public finally got to see the disturbing footage that was released on Monday morning by TMZ.com. As expected, the video sent shockwaves around the country, which led to swift action by the Baltimore Ravens organization and the NFL.
The tape released on Monday showed Ray swinging twice at his wife, knocking her out with the second hit. While falling, Janay hit her head against a rail inside of the elevator. Once reaching their destination, Ray began to drag Janay’s limp body out of the elevator, which is the footage that everyone initially saw from outside of the elevator seven months ago.
Shortly after the footage was released on Monday, the Baltimore Ravens released Ray Rice. Upon his being released, the league suspended Rice indefinitely. The NFL initially gave Rice a two-game suspension for his role in the situation. That suspension was meant with public backlash, as many people viewed the punishment as a slap on the wrist.
The negative publicity aimed at the Rice suspension led to a new initiative created by commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL, in which they will now implement a two-part punishment system for players and personnel found guilty of being the perpetrator in cases of domestic violence. For first time offenders, they will receive a six-game suspension, and for second time offenders, they will receive a lifetime ban.
Rice was a member of the Ravens for six seasons. During his time in Baltimore, he ran for over 6,000 yards and was a three-time bowler. He also won a Super Bowl back during the 2012-13 season. But last season, Rice appeared to hit that wall that so many great running backs seem to hit after years of wear and tear on their bodies. He had his worst season since his rookie year last year, where he ran for just under 700 yards and four touchdowns. The previous four seasons he ran for at least 1,100 yards each year.
With Rice now suspended indefinitely, he will likely remain ineligible to play this season. If he is reinstated next season, it will be interesting to see if any teams give him an opportunity to resurrect his career. There is a good chance that fans may have already seen Ray Rice play his last game not only as a Baltimore Raven, but as a running back in the NFL.