On Monday, exactly one week after he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL and cut by the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice will appeal the suspension, according to NFL sources. Rice has apparently engaged an attorney and his case will be supervised by the NFL Players Association.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who imposed the indefinite suspension, will handle the appeal, but it is likely that Rice and the NFLPA will ask him to step down from that role and appoint someone who is not from the NFL office to adjudicate the case. Goodell has done that before; he appointed former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in the case revolving around the New Orleans Saints setting bounties on players. Tagliabue decided to reverse all the Saints players’ suspensions.
A possible conflict for Goodell would be his likely appearance as a witness, testifying as to whether Rice lied to the league about the incident in which he punched his then-fiancee in an elevator. There are conflicting contentions as to whether Rice lied; Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome said that he didn’t.
Rice has some strong evidence to bolster his case against the indefinite suspension: Goodell had already announced a six-game suspension for first-time offenders before he extended Rice’s suspension from two games to an indefinite period of time, and the fact that Goodell punished him twice, first with a two-game suspension and then the extension, could be construed as double jeopardy.