On Thursday, Judge Michael A. Donio of New Jersey dismissed domestic violence charges against Ray Rice because the former Baltimore Ravens running back completed a pretrial intervention.
— Aaron Katersky (@AaronKatersky) May 21, 2015
The charges against Rice were initially filed after security in an Atlantic City casino detained the player after spotting him dragging his fiancee by her hair from an elevator. A video subsequently came to public light last September showing Rice striking his now-wife, Janay, in the Atlantic City casino in February 2014.
The release of the video triggered the termination of Rice’s $35 million contract by the Baltimore Ravens and an indefinite suspension by the NFL, which was later lifted by former federal judge Barbara S. Jones. Though the NFL received widespread criticism over its initial two-game suspension, it turns out Rice received a far more lenient penalty from the criminal justice system.
Rice was accepted into the pretrial intervention program as a first-time offender and had to fulfill his obligations, which lasted until May 19, 2105. He told the Baltimore Sun in February:
I’m actually done in my case. Really, I just have to call the state of New Jersey once a month. After May 19, I’m done. It will be a full year. It will be like a refreshing start. That’s the only little burden that I have. I have until May 19. I don’t have anything to do but call and confirm some things with them that I’m not getting into any trouble. It’s a real basic phone call and they give me another date for the next month.
He also stated that he had great hopes for the future, adding:
I’m optimistic that I’ll get a second chance. I don’t think this boils down to whether I can play football or not. Obviously I know that. I just think there’s so much more that comes with it. I know the PR side of it will be tough. I understand that. I just know that if a team that really truly genuinely looks at me and understood that this guy made a horrible mistake then they can structure a plan for me.
Ray Rice, despite making three Pro Bowl teams, remains on the outside of the NFL looking in. After a disappointing 2013 season, and the shocking incident that followed, Rice, at 28, may never carry a football again in the National Football League.