Indefinitely suspended running back Ray Rice could be reinstated to the NFL within four weeks.
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CBS Sports reports an appeal date has been set with a potential decision on Rice’s playing status taking place in mid-November. Rice appealed his indefinite suspension in September, arguing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had no basis to extend his suspension from two games to an indefinite ban.
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Rice also contests he never lied to the commissioner during their original conversations regarding the violent altercation he had with then-fiancee Janay Palmer in a casino elevator. The NFL outsourced its independent investigation on Goodell’s handling of the Rice suspension to former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
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If Rice is reinstated in mid-November, and is signed by a team, his penalty for beating his fiancee would be between 10 and 11 games, with a possible in week 12 of the NFL’s season.
And if that happens, you’ll see triple the amount of blitzes on TV and the web than on NFL fields.
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After TMZ released the grizzly video showing Rice knocking Palmer unconscious in an elevator–and dragging her out with no emotion–the story consumed the media for weeks. From typically politics-focused cable news, to digital media sites, to newspapers, Rice’s horrific actions–and the NFL’s unacceptable response (two game suspension)–captured the media’s attention.
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The story had it all: celebrity, money, race, and sports. It also curved into politics and equality, with a chorus of pundits on cable news arguing that the former Baltimore Ravens star got a mere two game-suspension for his actions–and no jail time– while average Americans without the luxury of being millionaire athletes with high-priced attorneys would be fired from their jobs and tossed in jail. Everyone from ESPN’s Hannah Storm to former President Bill Clinton sounded off on the Rice story.
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It’s because of this, readers and viewers should expect a media monsoon lasting far beyond your average breaking news cycle if Rice gets as much as a sniff of an NFL field in the same year his abuse was revealed. Everyone from ESPN to cable news will go wall-to-wall on a story that has all the ratings ingredients.
After all, the media loves its villains–as well as redemption stories for said villains. But for Rice, a quick reinstatement with less than a season off the field wouldn’t be a high enough price for the media not to throw its flags on the field.