Union appeals Rice's indefinite suspension by NFL

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Union appeals Rice's indefinite suspension by NFL
Janay Rice, back left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2013, file photo, Jeffery Miller, NFL vice president of security, addresses the media at a news conference for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The video of Ray Rice punching his fiancee inside a casino elevator was sent to NFL headquarters to the attention of Miller in April, a law enforcement official says. The NFL has repeatedly said no one with the league saw the violent images until TMZ Sports released the video earlier this month. Miller said Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, through an NFL spokesman that he never received the video. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
OWINGS MILLS, MD - MAY 23: Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens pauses while addressing a news conference with his wife Janay at the Ravens training center on May 23, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland. Rice spoke publicly for the first time since facing felony assault charges stemming from a February incident involving Janay at an Atlantic City casino. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2014, file photo, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice sits on the sideline in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Baltimore. The Ravens have cut Ray Rice. Hours after the release of a video that appears to show Rice striking his then-fiancee in February, the team terminated his contract Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, speaks alongside his wife Janay during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, walks off the field with Justin Forsett before addressing the media at a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. The Ravens have cut Ray Rice. Hours after the release of a video that appears to show Rice striking his then-fiancee in February, the team terminated his contract Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, speaks alongside his wife Janay during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Janay Rice listens as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, not pictured, speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife Janay made statements to the news media May 5, 2014, at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Md, regarding his assault charge for knocking her unconscious in a New Jersey casino. On Monday, Sept. 9, 2014, Rice was let go from the Baltimore Ravens after a video surfaced from TMZ showing the incident. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice answers question during a news conference after NFL football training camp, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Owings Mills, Md.(AP Photo/Gail Burton)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 16: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens sits on the bench against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of their preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 16: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens smiles during warm ups before their game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
OWINGS MILLS, MD - MAY 23: Baltimore Ravens assistant director of public relations Patrick M. Gleason holds the door as running back Ray Rice enter a news conference followed by his wife Janay Rice and Ravens team President Dick Cass at the Ravens training center on May 23, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland. Rice spoke publicly for the first time since facing felony assault charges stemming from a February incident involving Janay at an Atlantic City casino. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice enters an NFL football news conference with his wife Janay, back right,, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens football player and former Rutgers University standout, Ray Rice holds hands with his wife Janay Palmer as they arrive at Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, N.J., Thursday, May 1, 2014. After Rice and Janay Palmer got into a physical altercation on Feb. 15 at an Atlantic City casino, both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, leaves a NFL football news conference with his wife Janay, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, looks back as he hugs his father-in-law Joe Palmer after an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice pauses as he speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Rice and his wife Janay spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his then-fiance at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens football player and former Rutgers University standout, Ray Rice holds hands with his wife Janay Palmer as they arrive at Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, N.J., Thursday, May 1, 2014. After Rice and Janay Palmer got into a physical altercation on Feb. 15 at an Atlantic City casino, both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice, second from left, and his attorney Michael Diamondstein stand during Rice's arraignment at the Atlantic County Courthouse Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Mays Landing, N.J. Rice's wife Janay Palmer is seated at right. After Rice and Palmer got into a physical altercation on Feb. 15 at an Atlantic City casino, both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence. (AP Photo/The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tom Gralish, Pool)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice removes his jersey after a training camp practice, Thursday, July 24, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice walks off the field after a training camp practice, Thursday, July 24, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JULY 17: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sits in the crowd during the the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Levi Stadium on July 17, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Maine Governor Paul LePage in his office at the State House in Augusta. LePage, who was beaten by his father when he was young and has made domestic abuse prevention and awareness a priority of his administration, wrote a scathing letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the controversial two-game suspension levied on Ray Rice after a domestic incident involving his wife at a N.J. hotel.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference at the NFL's spring meeting, Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in Atlanta. Goodell has been criticized for suspending Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games following a domestic incident at a N.J. hotel.
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BALTIMORE (AP) -- The NFL players' union appealed Ray Rice's indefinite suspension Tuesday night.

Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL's personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault following a Feb. 15 altercation with his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

The Baltimore running back had already served the first game of that suspension when, on Sept. 8, a video surfaced showing Rice punching Janay Palmer, now his wife, in that elevator.

Within hours, the Ravens released Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended the suspension to indefinite based on the "new evidence."

Goodell and the Ravens say they never saw the video before Sept. 8.

"This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players," the NFL Players Association said in a statement. "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."

The NFLPA said that the collective bargaining agreement requires a hearing date be set within 10 days of the appeal notice. It also said the hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available.

The union, which had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to file the appeal, added that under governing labor law, an employee can't 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.

Rice can apply for reinstatement when he convinces Goodell that he is "addressing this issue." Rice has been accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the assault charge being dropped.

The NFL has come under heavy scrutiny for its handling of the Rice situation - and other domestic violence cases - as the league tries to attract female fans to the game. It is an effort that has been scarred by the original two-game suspension, a punishment many women's organizations deemed too light.

Goodell, in a letter sent to all 32 NFL owners in August, acknowledged that he "didn't get it right."

He then announced a new policy, stating that first-time domestic violence offenders would face a six-game suspension, and repeat offenders would be suspended indefinitely.

The policy didn't apply to Rice, who had already received his penalty.

There is apparently no precedent for the indefinite suspension Rice received after the video surfaced.

With all questions about who knew what and when - The Associated Press has reported the video was sent to NFL offices in April - the league has hired former FBI director Robert Mueller to look into how the NFL sought and handled evidence in the domestic violence case.

Soon after receiving the original suspension, Rice called his actions in the elevator "inexcusable" and apologized publicly to Janay, his mother, his teammates and the Ravens organization.

He also addressed the length of the suspension, which came with a fine of three paychecks totaling more than $500,000.

"I never planned to appeal any kind of punishment," Rice said on July 31. "So whether it was two games, four games, six games, eight games, I was going to own my actions and be a man about it and take whatever was given to me."

At that time, he spoke about the damage his reputation received.

"In some people's eyes, Ray can do no wrong. That's something I take pride in," he said. "I know a lot of people out there have lost respect, maybe not like me anymore. But that's my fault. I have to own that. That's my battle each day."

It is a battle he has waged recently out of the public eye. Although he attended a football game at his former high school with his wife last weekend, he has not spoken to the media since his release from the Ravens.

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