selected to hear Ray Rice's appeal of NFL suspension
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[October 03, 2014]
By Steve Ginsburg
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NFL Commissioner
Roger Goodell, under fire for his handling of the Ray Rice domestic
violence case, said on Thursday he appointed a former federal judge not
affiliated with the league to hear the player's appeal of his
The players' union, which collaborated with the league on the
appointment, said it was the first time a person without ties to the
National Football League was named to hear an appeal in a personal
Goodell said Barbara Jones, who served as a U.S. district judge in
the Southern District of New York from 1996 to 2013, had agreed to
hear the appeal.
The commissioner or a person appointed by him had been scheduled to
hear the case, but the union called the commissioner a potential
witness and requested that Rice's appeal be resolved by a neutral
Rice was originally suspended for two games for punching his
then-fiancee during an argument at a New Jersey casino in February.
But when a video emerged last month showing the knockout punch, the
Ravens released Rice and Goodell suspended him indefinitely.
The union says that Rice, 29, a six-year veteran of the NFL, is
being sentenced twice for the same offense. Goodell's statement did
not say when the appeal would be heard.
"We are grateful to Judge Jones for taking on this role," Goodell
said. "She will have our full cooperation as she hears and decides
Jones is currently a partner in the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder.
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The original two-game suspension handed down by Goodell was widely
seen as too light, and the league has since strengthened its
penalties for domestic abuse.
Several other players, including former Most Valuable Player Adrian
Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings and Pro Bowl defensive end Greg
Hardy of the Carolina Panthers, are also involved in domestic
Peterson, charged with child abuse for punishing his 4-year-old son
with a tree branch, and Hardy, who is appealing his conviction for
assaulting his girlfriend, are sidelined until their legal cases are
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Eric Beech and Peter
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