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Ray Rice released by Ravens after elevator altercation video surfaces

In this still image taken from a hotel

In this still image taken from a hotel security video released by TMZ Sports, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punches his fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an elevator at the Revel casino in Atlantic City, N.J., in February 2014. Credit: AP

Ray Rice was cut by the Baltimore Ravens Monday and suspended indefinitely by the NFL hours after a video was released that showed Rice knocking out his then-fiancee with a punch while the two argued inside an elevator at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City in February.

The Ravens announced they were terminating Rice's contract in a one-sentence statement on the team's Twitter account. Rice had three years and $10 million remaining on the five-year, $35-million contract he signed in 2012.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced shortly after Rice's release that he has been suspended indefinitely.

Rice, 27, had been eligible to return from a two-game suspension on Friday. Until the video surfaced, the Ravens had expressed support for Rice.

The new video posted by TMZ.com yesterday shows Rice entering the elevator with a woman identified as Janay Palmer, now Rice's wife. Once inside the elevator, the couple begins arguing. Rice initially seems to slap Palmer, who then starts toward Rice. Rice then strikes Palmer with his left hand. She crumples to the ground, hitting her head on the elevator handrail, which seems to knock her unconscious. When the door opens, Rice drags her from the elevator. There is no sound on the video.

Previously released surveillance video showed Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator during the Feb. 15 altercation.

The NFL issued a two-game suspension to Rice on July 24. Goodell and the league drew criticism for not being tough enough on domestic violence. On Aug. 28, Goodell sent a letter to all 32 NFL owners admitting the penalty was not enough. He said the league would recommend that any player involved in domestic violence receive a six-game suspension the first time and a minimum of a one-year ban for the second.

"I didn't get it right," Goodell wrote.

Goodell had the discretion to change the terms of Rice's suspension under the guidelines he set forth in the league's new domestic violence policy. According to his new directive, the suspension for a first offense could be changed "with consideration given to mitigating factors, as well as a longer suspension when circumstances warrant."

In July, Rice held a news conference and called his actions that night "inexcusable."

Rice, who is from New Rochelle and attended Rutgers University, was charged with felony aggravated assault in the case, but in May he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that allowed him to avoid jail time and could lead to the charge being purged from his record.

"We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until [Monday]."

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh, who admitted last night that seeing the video "changed things" for the Ravens, said the video "wasn't made available" to the team. "As far as I know . . . it wasn't something we ever saw or had access to."

Rice's lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

Several current and former players criticized both Rice and Goodell after seeing the video yesterday.

"That man should be thrown out the NFL and thrown into jail," Broncos defensive lineman Terrance Knighton wrote on his Twitter account. "Shame on those deciding his punishment. Smh."

Knighton added: "If there's anyway to open that case up and give this guy the punishment he deserves, it NEEDS to be done. As players we must speak up. Stand up for what's right. I don't give a damn who u are or how much money you make. No place for this."

With AP

New York Sports