(NEW YORK) — The Baltimore Ravens terminated Ray Rice’s contract Monday after a video emerged of the running back punching his then fiancee in an Atlantic City, New Jersey hotel elevator.
The NFL followed up by suspending Rice indefinitely, which would prevent another team from picking him up. Earlier in the day, the NFL said it had never seen the violent video before it suspended him for two games earlier this summer for domestic abuse.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” the NFL said in a statement Monday. “The video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
Within hours of the video’s appearance on TMZ.com, Rice’s team, the Baltimore Ravens, tweeted, “The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon.”
The video shows Janay Palmer, now Rice’s wife, being hit in the face in the elevator. Palmer then lunges at the running back before he delivers a blow that knocks her out. When the elevator doors open, Rice drags Palmer’s body outside, leaving her face down on the floor, her legs still inside the elevator.
Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, where the fight happened, said it released the video to police.
Atlantic City police did not respond to requests for comment by ABC News. A prosecutor told ABC News he refused to discuss what might have been submitted, viewed or cited by the grand jury.
An earlier clip showed the scene from outside the elevator, but not the violent blow that originally earned Rice a two-game suspension. The NFL had been criticized for what some considered to be a light punishment.
Some time after hotel security arrive, Palmer gets up and she and Rice walk away.
Both Rice and Palmer were arrested after the incident. Charges against Palmer were quickly dropped. Rice, who was indicted by a grand jury, entered a pretrial diversionary program, avoiding jail time. He has apologized for the Feb. 15 incident.
Kyle Flood, the football coach at Rice’s alma mater, Rutgers University, called Monday a “sad day” for the school.
“The video I saw this morning was difficult to watch as a husband and as a father,” Flood said. “There is nothing that can justify what I saw on that video. This is a sad day for Ray and a sad day for Rutgers.”
After outrage from Rice’s suspension, the NFL announced last month that players accused of domestic violence would face tougher punishments. Players get six weeks of suspension for a first offense, and at least a year for a second offense, according to the new policy.
The hotel has since shut down for unrelated reasons. TMZ said it cleaned up the video to remove reverse frames and make the time frame clearer.
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