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The outrage began almost immediately after news broke that the NFL was suspending Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for the first two games of the season. The punishment came after he was arrested in February for allegedly striking his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, during an altercation at a casino in Atlantic City.
The 27-year-old All Pro pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault in May. Surveillance footage showed him dragging Palmer, now his wife, seemingly unconscious out of an elevator. As a first-time offender, Rice avoided standing trial and was accepted into a diversion program. The NFL announced on Thursday that Rice had been suspended and fined under the NFL's personal conduct policy.
"As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL," Goodell said in a statement released on Thursday. Both Rice and Palmer met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week. "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. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women."
Given some of the other suspensions levied by the NFL during Goodell's tenure, many fans and media members found Rice's punishment far too lenient.