According to multiple reports, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended for two games for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy after he was caught on camera in an Atlantic City hotel carrying his unconscious fiancée out of an elevator, seemingly after a physical altercation.
Although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to announce the Rice's suspension, many are expressing their outrage with the reported decision. Rice pleaded not guilty to an aggravated assault charge in March stemming from an incident that was caught on camera at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City on February 15. Rice allegedly, according to a criminal complaint, struck his fiancée (and now wife) Janay Palmer, in the face and knocked her unconscious.
However, Rice will avoid the criminal charges if he successfully completes a pre-trial intervention program designed for first-time offenders. He will still have an arrest on his record, but without conviction. Sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Rice will be suspended for two games, fined $58,000, and asked to enroll in counseling. His suspension will cost him $470,588.
Ray Rice's suspension begins Aug. 30, eligible for reinstatement Sept. 12. Also will be fined additional $58,000 on top of 2-game suspension— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2014
Meanwhile, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon are awaiting their punishments to be handed down by the NFL. Smith is expected to hear from the league soon regarding his violations of personal-conduct and substance abuse policies. In the last year, Smith received a DUI (his second incident with driving) and misdemeanor weapons charges (when authorities discovered a number of illegal assault rifles in his house after Smith was stabbed at a party he was hosting). He's currently on probation and is expected to receive a multi-game suspension from the NFL.
But perhaps the most puzzling is Josh Gordon's situation. A repeat offender of the substance abuse policy, Gordon is facing a yearlong suspension after failing two drug tests within months of each other for marijuana use. He was also arrested and charged with a DWI in North Carolina, but that issue has not yet been ruled into the suspension. Gordon is appealing his yearlong ban on August 1 when he will meet with NFL officials.
Although marijuana is illegal for recreational use in 48 states and is not permitted in the NFL, a positive test for the banned substance (for first-time offenders) carries a four-game suspension, which the league might have to change after suspending Rice for only two games even with the their possession of the video evidence. In May, the NFL announced they would revisit the league's drug policy to reduce punishments for those who test positive for marijuana. However, negotiations have been ongoing in regards to this issue since 2011, with the league and the NFL Players Association unable to reach an agreement. Similarly, Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner missed an opportunity to play in this year's Super Bowl after being suspended indefinitely by the NFL in December for testing positive for marijuana as a repeat offender.
Expected to face a lot of criticism over the Rice ruling, the NFL is likely to issue changes in the substance abuse policy in regards to marijuana. You can read more about Ray Rice's suspension in this ESPN article.