TMZ Sports posted the video Monday showing Rice and Janay Palmer, who is now his wife, entering an elevator. Inside the elevator, Rice punches Palmer. Palmer lunges after Rice, and then Rice hits her back and she falls to the floor.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES MANY WILL FIND DISTURBING
Previously, TMZ Sports had released hotel surveillance video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. This is the first time video has been released that shows Rice punching her.
Former NFL players have reacted strongly to the video.
A few months after the incident, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice without pay for the first two games of the regular season and fined him an additional game check for “conduct detrimental to the NFL.” However, no one in the NFL offices, including Goodell, had seen the newly released footage of the incident until Monday, the league told CNN.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said. “That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
The NFL has previously said that Rice entered a pretrial intervention program in May. Under the program, he won’t be prosecuted, and the charges will be expunged after one year.
In a press conference in July, Rice said his actions were “inexcusable” and that he and his wife are in counseling.
“We’re taking the necessary steps to move forward,” he said. “My job is to lead my family. My job is to lead my wife. My job is to lead in whatever I do. And If I’m not being the example, then my family crumbles.”
Goodell has already been scrutinized for suspending Rice for just two games, months after the first video aired. Many felt the suspension wasn’t enough.
Some NFL fans have questioned why Ravens head coach John Harbaugh would call Rice “one heck of a guy,” and why the Ravens would tweet out “Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.”
They have also questioned why Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon would be suspended for a year after testing positive for marijuana when Rice was suspended for just two games.
On August 28, Goodell released a letter to NFL team owners saying the league will institute a six-game unpaid suspension for personnel who violate the league’s personal conduct policy when it relates to domestic violence. A second domestic violence incident would be punished by a lifetime ban from the league.