Thursday October 2nd, 2014

Former U.S. district judge Barbara Jones will hear the appeal filed by former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, the NFL Players Association announced Thursday.

Rice is appealing the indefinite suspension handed to him on Sept. 8 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell's recusal from the appeal was requested since he is a witness in Rice's case.

The NFLPA and NFL jointly decided to appoint Jones. From the press release announcing her appointment:

Judge Jones served in the Southern District of New York from 1996 to 2013. Prior to her appointment to the bench by President Bill Clinton, she served as an attorney in the Department of Justice, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, and Chief Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan. Judge Jones is currently a partner in the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder.

“We are grateful to Judge Jones for taking on this role,” said Commissioner Goodell. “She will have our full cooperation as she hears and decides this appeal.”

BRANDT: Ravens' Cass little-known but Central figure in Rice case

Rice, who has retained the same lawyer who represented Jonathan Vilma in the New Orleans Saints bounty case and multiple other athletes as well, will reportedly argue that Goodell had no basis to extend Rice's suspension from two games to an indefinite period.

Goodell did so when new video emerged depicting Rice punching his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City casino elevator. Rice reportedly told Goodell what happened in the elevator when they initially met to discuss his case this summer, which Goodell denies.

Questions also center on whether Goodell and the NFL had already seen or possessed the video when the initial suspension was ruled upon. Goodell has maintained that he nor anyone working for the league had received a copy of it before it was later released to the public, which several reports have disputed.

The Ravens, who released Rice hours before Goodell increased his suspension, have also faced criticism for their role in his disciplinary process.

•​ VRENTAS: Can the NFL really work in London?

The NFL is currently conducting an investigation into Goodell's handling of Rice's case led by former FBI director Robert Mueller III.

Ben Estes


SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.