NFL Taking Heat for Latest Action Against Ex-Ravens RB Ray Rice

Ray Rice


Former Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Former NFL leading rusher Arian Foster took a trip down memory lane and decided to share his findings in a video he posted to Twitter on Thursday, May 12. The NFL liked the footage so much that it reposted the video to its 30 million Twitter followers, but with one notable exception.

Foster’s video showed off some of the signed jerseys he’d collected from fellow players during eight years in the league, including one from former Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice.

The NFL decided to cut out the jersey reveal of Rice, who made multiple Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl, before being indefinitely suspended following an incident of domestic violence in 2014.

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Foster Notices Absence of Fellow 1,000-Yard Rusher

Foster’s video began with a rummage through his own jerseys, including the many he wore with the Houston Texans. At the 0:13 mark, Foster started adding jerseys from other players, many of them autographed, to the pile including Eric Berry, Andrew Luck, A.J. Green and Mike Evans.

A few Ravens featured in the group, starting with former kick-return ace Jacoby Jones and ending with Hall-of-Fame middle linebacker Ray Lewis, but it was another Raven who caught the eye.

In his initial video, Foster tossed Rice’s jersey onto the pile at the 0:57 mark, just one spot after that worn by safety Troy Polamalu of the arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers:

Rice was nowhere to be found when the NFL’s official account reposted the video hours later. Instead, Polamalu’s jersey was still present but was immediately followed by those worn by Foster and Rice’s fellow running backs Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.

The sudden jump to AP and Beast Mode didn’t escape Foster’s notice, writing “lmao y’all cut out ray rice” on the NFL’s condensed video.

Some fans also noticed the edit.

Former NFL running back Charles James II, who played from 2013 to 2016, also replied to Foster, “Politics lol.”

The decision to leave Rice out of content headed by the league logo could date back to his indefinite suspension in 2014. Commissioner Roger Goodell made the decision after a video acquired by TMZ Sports showed Rice physically attack his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer during an argument in the elevator of the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City in February 2014.

Rice, who subsequently married Palmer in March 2014, was initially suspended for two games by the NFL, before the video of his actions circulated. That initial punishment prompted widespread criticism of the league’s consistency in handling incidents of domestic violence.

A response came from U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who wrote to both Goodell and the Ravens, urging more serious action, according to Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports:

Mr. Rice’s suspension reflects a disturbingly lenient, even cavalier attitude towards violence against women. We therefore urge you to take two steps immediately. First, reconsider and revise Mr. Rice’s suspension to more adequately reflect the seriousness of his offense. We are also writing to the Baltimore Ravens to request that they impose additional discipline under their own authority, but it is imperative that the NFL itself makes clear that this conduct is truly unacceptable.

Rice’s Jersey Not the Only 1 Removed From Foster’s Video

It’s not clear if the NFL’s decision to steer clear of any mention or depiction of Rice in Foster’s video is motivated by any need to show the league is still upholding the standards asked for by those senators.

As TMZ Sports reported on May 12 after the edited version of Foster’s post appeared, “It should be pointed out, they also left out a few other jerseys, including former Texans punter Shane Lechler’s.”

Peterson’s jersey remained in the reframed clip. The 37-year-old was arrested in Los Angeles in February this year, after what a rep for the former four-time All-Pro told TMZ Sports was a “verbal fight” and a “private misunderstanding” with his wife that led to Peterson’s removal from a flight out of L.A.

Peterson “agreed to complete 20 sessions of domestic violence and alcohol counseling within the next 6 months,” per Scooby Axson of USA Today Sports, relaying a statement from a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

Back in 2014, he pleaded no contest to a “reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless assault,” following a charge of felony child abuse. Goodell handed out a suspension after seeing visual evidence of the damage done to Peterson’s four-year-old son.

Peterson was reinstated in 2015 and went on to play for the New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, in Washington, and for the Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks.

Rice hasn’t played since 2013. He amassed four straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2009 to 2012 and helped the Ravens win the 2012 Super Bowl.

Foster entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2009, one year after the Ravens took Rice in the fourth round. Both went on to become premier running backs during their era, with Foster out-gaining Rice, 6,527 yards to 6,180 by the time he finished his career with the Miami Dolphins in 2016. They also split seven Pro Bowl appearances, with Rice going to three.

Foster won the league’s rushing title with 1,616 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010, while Rice finished second in the race for the rushing crown a year later. He was 242 yards behind Maurice Jones-Drew, another running back whose jersey made the cut in both versions of Foster’s post.

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