Rice arrived at the hearing at 9:15 a.m. holding hands with
his wife, Janay Palmer, the woman he knocked out in a one-punch
fight inside an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino elevator in
The altercation triggered widespread criticism of how NFL
Commissioner Goodell handles cases of domestic violence and led
to the league's strengthening its policies against such crimes.
Rice, 27, a six-year NFL veteran, will argue that he was
sanctioned twice by the league for the same offense.
Goodell, who is expected to testify at the hearing, suspended
Rice in July for two games for punching Palmer, who was his
fiancé at the time of the incident.
But in September, when surveillance video surfaced of the
knockout from inside the elevator, Goodell suspended Rice
indefinitely and the Ravens released the three-time Pro Bowler.
Goodell says he had not seen the knockout punch until it emerged
on the Internet, and it constituted new evidence in the case.
The NFL players union says Goodell knew everything that happened
all along and that the commissioner was swayed by public
reaction to the punch.
Rice was indicted in March on third-degree aggravated assault,
but the charge was dropped because Palmer declined to testify
against him. He ultimately agreed to court-supervised counseling
as part of a pre-trial intervention program.
The NFL hearing, before independent arbitrator Barbara Jones, a
former federal judge, is expected to conclude Thursday. Jones
has instituted a gag order and neither side is expected to speak
publicly about the hearing.
In addition to Goodell and Rice, others expected to testify at
the hearing include league security chief Jeffrey Miller and
Ravens President Dick Cass.
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Eric
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