Is Ray Rice Media Firestorm Brewing Over NFL Star’s Potential Return This Season?

New reports suggest the running back, who was suspended for knocking his wife out in an elevator, could be reinstated to the league in a month

Ray Rice Baltimore Ravens
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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.

Also read: Ray Rice Assault Video Mailed to NFL Security Chief in April 

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.

Also read: CBS’ Les Moonves Sidesteps Ray Rice Scandal; Touts NFL’s ‘Phenomenal Ratings,’ Rising Ad Rates

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.

Also read: Robin Givens Calls Ray Rice Domestic Abuse Scandal a ‘Game Changer’ (Video)

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.

Also read: ‘The View’s’ Whoopi Goldberg on NFL, ESPN Domestic Violence Flap: ‘Don’t Be Surprised If You Hit a Man, He Hits You Back’

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.

Also read: Real-Life Jerry Maguire: NFL Must Respond to Domestic Abuse Fiasco, But Don’t Villainize Roger Goodell

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.