New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The NFL defended its decision to hand just a two-game suspension on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for his domestic violence arrest, a punishment that was deemed too light by many.
“Listen, I think if you are any player and you think that based on this decision that it’s OK to go out and commit that kind of conduct, I think that is something that I would suggest to you that no player is going to go out and do that,” said NFL senior vice president of labor policy Adolpho Birch.
Birch clarified that the NFL does not condone domestic violence in any way and the punishment handed to Rice was one way of sending that message.
“So in terms of sending a message about what the league stands for, we’ve done that. We can talk about the degree of discipline, we can talk about whether or not third parties need to be involved,” he added.
In February, video of the incident surfaced online showing Rice dragging an apparently unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. The couple has since married.
Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May.
Aside from the suspension, the League fined Rice an additional regular-season game check but is eligible to participate in training camp and all of Baltimore’s preseason games.
In addition, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expects the three-time Pro Bowler to continue to attend counseling.
“The discipline that was taken by the NFL is the only discipline that occurred, with respect to Mr. Rice, in this case,” Birch said. “I think that, were he not an NFL player, I don’t know that he would be able to receive any punishment from any other source.