Yesterday evening, the NFL Players Association announced they have formally filed an appeal of Ray Rice's "indefinite suspension" from the NFL. Rumors of the appeal began circulating yesterday, but union has issued this statement:
Today, the NFL Players Association formally filed an appeal of the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice by the NFL. This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players.
The NFLPA appeal is based on supporting facts that reveal a lack of a fair and impartial process, including the role of the office of the Commissioner of the NFL. We have asked that a neutral and jointly selected arbitrator hear this case as the Commissioner and his staff will be essential witnesses in the proceeding and thus cannot serve as impartial arbitrators.
They also offered a breakdown of their logic behind the appeal:
· The terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement require a hearing date to be set within 10 days of this appeal notice.
· Under governing labor law, an employee cannot be punished twice for the same action when all of the relevant facts were available to the employer at the time of the first punishment.
· The hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available.
This spring, Rice was suspended for two games after the video of him dragging Janay Palmer from the elevator surfaced in February. Last month, the NFL changed their policy on domestic abuse: a first violation now gets you a six-game suspension and the second is a ban from the league.
After the complete video of Rice and Palmer in the elevator became public (though the NFL may have seen it when they made their two-game decision,) Commissioner Roger Goodell moved to ban Rice indefinitely. That happened almost immediately after the Baltimore Ravens terminated his contract. Goodell has since said he doesn't "rule out" Rice's return to the NFL, but he must apply for reinstatement by the Goodell's office.