Sports Football

Ray Rice wins appeal as judge agrees that he didn’t lie to Roger Goodell

By Bill Lankhof, Toronto Sun

Former Ravens running back Ray Rice won his appeal against the NFL on Friday. (REUTERS)

Former Ravens running back Ray Rice won his appeal against the NFL on Friday. (REUTERS)

TORONTO - 

Ray Rice has run an end-around on the indefinite suspension levied by commissioner Roger Goodell.

Rice won the appeal Friday of his indefinite suspension, levied by Goodell. It means he is free to sign with any NFL team.

Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, who heard Rice’s appeal, concluded in her decision, that Rice didn’t lie to, or mislead, Goodell, who bumped a two-game suspension into an indefinite one after a public outcry ensued when video of Rice hitting his wife surfaced on an internet celebrity site.

“In this arbitration, the NFL argues that commissioner Goodell was misled when he disciplined Rice the first time. Because, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, I am not persuaded that Rice lied to, or misled, the NFL ... I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated,” Jones’ decision stated.

“The imposition of a second suspension based on the same incident and the same known facts about the incident, was arbitrary,” Jones wrote.

“Any failure on the part of the League to understand the level of violence was not due to Rice’s description of the event.”

Rice was released by Baltimore when the video surfaced of Rice pulling his unconcious wife, Janay, from an elevator.

In an ESPN interview released Friday Janay recalls she was “extremely surprised and angry” when the Ravens released her husband. “It seemed like a knee-jerk reaction for publicity reasons.”

In the interview, Janay recalls “bickering” with Rice at a restaurant. She remembers still arguing outside the elevator, and said she reached for Rice’s phone and that’s when he spit at her and she slapped him.

“We got into the elevator and what happened inside is still foggy to me. The only thing I know — and I can’t even say I ‘remember’ because I only know from what Ray has told me — is that I slapped him again and then he hit me.”

GENERALLY EXCELLENT

It’s like Grant vs. Lee.

It’s Montgomery vs. The Desert Fox.

It’s Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers. Arguably the top two field generals in the NFL meet Sunday featuring the league’s highest-scoring teams.

The Patriots hope to run a winning streak to seven games. The Packers are looking for six in a row at Lambeau Field.

Something has to give.

Rodgers has thrown for 656 yards in the past two home games and 18 touchdowns without an interception in 144 attempts in Green Bay this season. The Patriots have been even more dominating.

Last week against Detroit’s stingy run defence, Brady dismantled them with quick passes. The week before, Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards. Now they’ve added LeGarrette Blount, who had two TDs last week. If that doesn’t work there’s always Rob Gronkowski patrolling no-man’s land in front of the secondary.

Sunday, chances are the ground game will be in evidence again against a Packers’ defence that has been vulnerable to the run — ranking 30th with 136.7 yards allowed per game. But attempting to guess what the Patriots might do any given Sunday is Mission: Impossible. Green Bay, said cornerback Tramon Williams, must be adaptable.

“That’s been their MO,” Williams said. “They find different ways to attack different teams. You never know what it’s going to be from week to week. That’s the chess match and that’s what the great teams do. They play chess. Hopefully we can go out and play chess a bit, too.”

A COUNTER PUNCH

The Eagles didn’t just beat the Cowboys on Thursday, they beat them up. Dallas receiver Dez Bryant is not only unhappy about it, he isn’t going to take it anymore.

Bryant said he’s looking forward to a rematch after several confrontations with Philadelphia defensive backs, a busted lip and a sore hip. He called the Eagles “kinda cheap” for playing fast and loose with the rules.

“I’m really not mad,” Bryant said after the 33-10 loss. “They beat us and I’m going to accept that, but [expletive] can’t wait ... to go up (to Philadelphia) and play again, cannot wait.”

MARC BEARS THE BURDEN

Coach Marc Trestman put the blame on himself for another disappointing effort by his Bears on Thursday. So, at least he and numerous Bears’ fans are agreed on something.

“It starts with me. I’m looking inside and accepting accountability for this loss. We just couldn’t get it done and didn’t have enough ammunition,” Trestman said. “It was extremely disappointing. We just didn’t play well. That’s the bottom line.”

With the team out of the playoff picture, fans have been calling for Trestman’s firing. Chances of that remain slim. As Rick Morrissey, of the Chicago Sun Times notes: “There’s no point anymore in calling for heads that aren’t going to roll. Not Phil Emery’s. Not Marc Trestman’s. Not Jay Cutler’s. The Bears have anesthetized everyone into surrender. Their fans might as well sleep the sleep of the dead, like their team. Ownership is not going to make significant changes.”

QUICK HITS

It sounds like Geno Smith will finish the season as the Jets’ starter. “I would anticipate that and hope that’s the case,” head coach Rex Ryan told reporters Friday....Falcons receiver Roddy White didn’t hasn’t practised all week, but is expected to play Sunday against the Cardinals .... Carolina will start its seventh different offensive-line combination in seven weeks when Mike Remmers moves in at right tackle ... Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (hamstring), who shares the league lead in tackles(116) with Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy, practised Friday after missing last week’s game .... Jets quarterback Michael Vick didn’t practice Friday because of an illness. But then, if you had to watch the Jets’ offence play or practice every day, chances are it would make you sick too. 


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