NFL vice president of labor policy and government affairs Adolpho Birch appeared on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on Monday and struggled to defend the NFL’s decision to give Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice a two-game suspension for allegedly knocking his then-fiancée unconscious and dragging her body out of a casino elevator in February.
The full interview is below.
Birch said the league was “bound in large part by precedent in prior cases” and insisted that Rice’s two-game ban without pay wasn’t a minor punishment. But after Birch's appearance, Mike Greenberg, co-host of the show, said, "I do not feel that most people listening to that discussion feel they got an adequate explanation of how they arrived at two games.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to comment publicly on the suspension, but he wrote a letter to Rice saying he expects him to learn from the incident.
"The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game," Goodell said in a letter to Rice. "This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women…"
More: Lenient penalty for Ray Rice troubling proof of where NFL's priorities lie
Rice will miss games against division foes Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and will lose about $529,411.24 in game checks.
- Scooby Axson