Rice wins appeal, 'suspension vacated'

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Rice wins appeal, 'suspension vacated'
Ray Rice released a statement Friday apologizing for the domestic issue incident that led to his dismissal from the Ravens.
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Janay Rice (middle) speaks with Matt Lauer, of NBC News. (Today/NBC News)
Ray Rice arrives for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Suspended Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice (R) and his wife Janay Palmer arrive for a hearing on November 5, 2014 in New York City. Rice is fighting his suspension after being caught beating his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Suspended Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice (R) and his wife Janay Palmer arrive for a hearing on November 5, 2014 in New York City. Rice is fighting his suspension after being caught beating his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Suspended Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice (R) and his wife Janay Palmer arrive for a hearing on November 5, 2014 in New York City. Rice is fighting his suspension after being caught beating his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Suspended Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice (R) and his wife Janay Palmer arrive for a hearing on November 5, 2014 in New York City. Rice is fighting his suspension after being caught beating his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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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NEW YORK (AP) - Ray Rice has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL, the players' union said Friday.

NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah told The Associated Press in an email that "I can only confirm the suspension has been vacated, effective immediately."

The appeal was heard earlier this month by former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones. She was deciding whether the NFL overstepped its authority in modifying Rice's two-game suspension, making it indefinite after video of the Baltimore Ravens running back punching his fiancee- now his wife, Janay - became public.

The Rices testified at the hearing, as did NFL security chief Jeffrey Miller and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.

Rice was released by the Ravens and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the suspension indefinite shortly after the video was made public. But Rice and the union claimed he was essentially sentenced twice.

In her decision, Jones wrote:

"Because Rice did not mislead the commissioner and because there were no new facts on which the commissioner could base his increased suspension, I find that the imposition of the indefinite suspension was arbitrary. I therefore vacate the second penalty imposed on Rice. The provisions of the first discipline - those regarding making continued use of counseling and other professional services, having no further involvement with law enforcement, and not committing any additional violations of league policies_still stand."

The NFL did not immediately comment on Friday's decision by Jones.

Related Gallery: Notable Reactions to the Ray Rice Video
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Notable reactions to Ray Rice video
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Rice wins appeal, 'suspension vacated'

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets...

(John Leyba via Getty Images)

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets.

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets.

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets.

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets.

Saints tackle Zach Strief: "I don't know Ray Rice, but I know that video is disturbing. It's tough to see and it's unacceptable. ... It's upsetting."

Steelers cornerback William Gay: "We're talking about a life, I don't care about a sport when it comes down to domestic violence. This is real. Someone can lose their life to it."

"So I'm not concerned about the sport. I'm concerned about what happens in the world, what happens in real life. "

Gay's mother, Carolyn, was shot and killed by Gay's stepfather in Tallahassee, Florida, when Gay was 7 years old. He volunteers at the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and is an advocate for domestic violence victims.

"We need to do everything we can to help Ray Rice because we don't need to run away from him and say he's evil."

Bills coach Doug Marrone, who supports Vera House, which assists victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse...

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"Am I happy the NFL has taken a harder stance? ... I mean, there is no excuse for abuse. I really believe that."

Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine, who called the video "deeply disturbing, especially as a father that has two daughters":

"There's just no place for that behavior in our society."

Adding he wasn't surprised that Rice was cut after Petting saw the video, he was asked if he could coach a player involved in something similar: "You don't want to ever talk in absolutes, but it would be really difficult," he said.

Titans tackle Michael Oher, former teammate of Rice's in Baltimore whose locker was next to the running back:

"If my daughter was to get hit like that from another man, I'd have a serious problem with it. So I wish him the best, but it's no place for that. I don't care if you're a football player, a professional athlete or anything, a regular man or anything, there's no place for that - striking a woman."

Judy Harris Kluger (not pictured), a former New York City judge and now executive director of Sanctuary for Families, a leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence and related forms of gender violence:

"The video of Ray Rice punching his fiancee in the elevator is a graphic illustration of what goes on behind closed doors every day in this country. In my years as a prosecutor and judge, I never saw such explicit videotape evidence of domestic violence. Today, by acting quickly and decisively, and in suspending Ray Rice and terminating his contract, the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens sent a powerful message that domestic violence will not be tolerated.

"I hope that with this action, along with the new policy outlined by Commissioner Goodell, the NFL will emerge as leaders in the fight against domestic violence."

Coach Kyle Flood of Rutgers, where Rice attended...

"Family is family, but at Rutgers we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard, and we expect a lot out of our players, and we expect a lot out of the coaches and the staff that we have here ... we expect a lot out of our alumni. I think because of those expectations, this is a sad day.

"Ray will always be a part of our family. The video I saw this morning was difficult to watch. As a husband and as a father, there's nothing that could justify what I saw on that video.

"This is a sad day for Ray and a sad day for Rutgers."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who did not know whether President Barack Obama had seen the latest video ...

"This administration and this president do believe strongly that the scourge of violence against women is something that needs to be aggressively combatted ... We certainly welcome any strong signals by anyone in this country in support of that value," Earnest said.

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