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Ray Rice wins NFL suspension appeal

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Ray Rice

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has won his appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL, the players union said Friday.

“The suspension has been vacated,” George Atallah, the assistant executive director of external affairs for the players’ union, said.

Former U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones, a neutral arbitrator, presided over Rice’s appeal hearing in New York earlier this month.

Her decision means Rice is immediately able to play.

In September, hours after the Ravens cut Rice, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell lengthened Rice’s suspension from two games to an indefinite period.

“Because Rice did not mislead the commissioner and because there were no new facts on which the commissioner could base his increased suspension, I find that the imposition of the indefinite suspension was arbitrary. I therefore vacate the second penalty imposed on Rice,” Jones wrote in her decision.

Provisions of the initial suspension — which include counseling, not getting in legal trouble again and not getting in trouble with the NFL again — still stand, she wrote. The two-game suspension would have ended in September.

“If a team wanted to sign him and put him on the field that could happen but we’re not expecting that to occur any time soon,” CNN’s Rachel Nichols said. “If you’re a team that needs a running back, are you going to sign Ray Rice knowing the backlash against him, knowing how people in the public feel about it?”

Rice, 27, was cut by the Ravens in September, so he is currently a free agent.

The former Ravens star had his contract terminated by the team in the wake of the disturbing video that shows him knocking out his now-wife, Janay Rice, on an elevator in a casino in Atlantic City on February 15.

CNN left messages for Jones, the NFL and Rice’s agent, but didn’t immediately hear back.

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