A court has nullified the NFL’s indefinite suspension for Ray Rice, freeing him to make a return to the league.
Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones said Commissioner Roger Goodell‘s decision in September to change Rice’s original suspension from two games to indefinite was “arbitrary” and an “abuse of discretion.”
Jones was deciding whether the NFL overstepped its authority in modifying Rice’s two-game suspension after video of the Baltimore Ravens running back punching Janay became public.
Rice was released by the Ravens when the video went public. Rice and the union contended he was essentially sentenced twice, and Jones agreed, saying Rice “did not lie to or mislead the NFL.”
In her decision, Jones also wrote:
“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.
The NFL said it accepted the decision.
“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,” spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email to The Associated Press.