In an offseason filled with drama for the NFL, perhaps no player provoked more controversy than Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. He is now out of a job after the release of a graphic video showing him punching his then fiancee, Janay Palmer.
"It’s something we saw for the first time today, all of us," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It changed things of course.''
Rice became the center of a firestorm after a video was released showing him dragging his unconscious fiancee, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City on Feb. 15. It was later revealed Rice had hit Palmer and knocked her out.
Rice and Palmer were both arrested on simple assault charges and were released on a summons after the incident. 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.
Rice was then suspended for the first two games of this season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
Despite an uproar from some domestic violence groups and members of the media, the firestorm had begun to settle down after the NFL instituted a new domestic violence policy that called for a six-game suspension for a first domestic violence offense and a minimum of a year for a second offense.
Details of what took place in the elevator were never revealed. But video released Monday by the gossip website TMZ.com shows what actually took place inside the elevator between Rice and Palmer, who have since married.
The new video has no audio and begins with Rice waiting outside the elevator doors looking at his phone. Palmer walks up to him, and the couple seem to be arguing as she gives Rice a slight push as he is leaning against a pillar. As the two enter the elevator, two passers-by can be seen staring at the couple.
Once inside, Rice apparently strikes Palmer twice in the face, knocking her head into the wall of the elevator.
According NFL officials, they have not seen the second video.
"We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement. "That video was not made available to us. And no one in our office has seen it until today."
However, several reports have surfaced contradicting the NFL's account of the situation and state league officials had seen the video before rendering its initial ruling.
Regardless, hours after the release of the second video, the Ravens released Rice from team. He had three years remaining on his Ravens contract. The team will not owe him anything.