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Thinking Out Loud: Why should Tom Brady accept a suspension if he’s not guilty? 07.17.15 at 8:47 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Ray Fosse?

— Tick, tick, tock. Still nothing from NFL czar Roger Goodell on the Tom Brady decision, even though we had multiple reports this week saying the ruling would come today — or tomorrow — or by the end of the week. It was none of the above. Trying to predict when news will happen, just so you can say “I’m first!” only creates foolishness, and erodes credibility. Competition causes reasonable people to act unreasonably.

— We did, however, learn that Brady’s legal team and the NFLPA will take the matter to federal court should a suspension of any length be at hand. Can’t say I’m surprised. If you’re not guilty, why accept a plea bargain?

— We’ve maintained in this corner that Brady would fight his four-game suspension to the bitter end. Sure, it would be best to move this along and get it behind us all, but the NFL’s resistance to logic only adds fuel to the competitive fire in Foxboro. So let the tick, tick, tock keep on ticking. The explosion to come could be entertaining.

— I’m not big into awards shows, and the ESPYs have pretty much run their course for me since their inception in 1993. It was cool when it started, even cooler to be a small part of it by interviewing some of the stars on the radio after the show had completed, but in later years it has become passé with athletes mostly trying to outdo other athletes for recognition. The show this year, on Wednesday night, was a bit different.

— Yes, there was the surreal spectacle that was Caitlyn Jenner. Say whatever you want about her, and you’d probably be right. Bravery, however, was at least a small part of her appearance. And for the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Devon Still, whose daughter Leah continues to fight pediatric cancer? If anyone deserves good will, he deserves to have his prayers answered and have a healthy daughter. He’s well-spoken and proud. And seems to be a great dad, too.

— Play of the Year? Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-handed catch? Please. How about an amazing play that actually counted for something — like Malcolm Butler’s goal-line pick in the Super Bowl? It will only go down as the single most memorable play in championship history. But not Play of the Year. Stupid is as stupid does.

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Read More: Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Tom Brady, Roger Goodell must come to compromise 06.26.15 at 8:04 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Vincent Council?

— We wait. And wait. And wait some more. It may be another month — or more — before we find out the results of Tom Brady‘s suspension appeal with the NFL. How can you possibly expect a league mired in its own mayhem to produce anything of a timely nature? You can’t. But you certainly can expect a decision sometime after the Fourth of July, at the very least, with briefs from both sides due by end of next week.

— Here’s a plausible scenario, just for kicks. The American Educational Institute report blew huge holes into the science behind the Wells Report. The Wells Report, more and more, appears to be an investigation into what the league “wanted” to find, not actually what was found. Maybe there was conspiracy, maybe not. Whatever the case, Roger Goodell is backed into a corner — he must reduce and/or eliminate TB12’s suspension based on actual findings and actual science, or he risks federal court proceedings. And if he does reduce and/or eliminate, there’s little bite left in the bark from the commissioner’s office.

— There has to be a compromise. Either one game, or no games and a fine for Brady’s initial refusal to completely cooperate with a sham investigation conducted by Ted Wells. Followed by the pronouncement from the commissioner that Brady did nothing wrong, to assist in clearing his name and reputation. It’s the only way in which both sides can claim a victory. It could have been done months ago. And trust me, right now both sides want to “win” this — badly.

— Uh, Brad? You meant “twit” when you referred to Ian Poulter‘s complaints about the greens during last week’s U.S. Open, right? Faxon’s comments this week on WEEI were apparently aimed at Poulter not only because of his griping about the putting surfaces, but also because Poulter has apparently used the bad word himself. In this case, the word used was not meant as a derogatory comment toward a part of the female anatomy, but used to describe someone who is obnoxious. Clears that up.

— He could be playing, but Fax is back on Fox Sports this week for the U.S. Senior Open in Sacramento, where his Newport, Rhode Island, buddy P.H. Horgan found himself in early contention. He is contracted for eight events, including the USGA’s majors — the Open, the Women’s Open, the Senior Open and the Amateur. Rogue comments aside, reviews on Faxon as a golf commentator have been pretty solid.

— You can say he was lucky. You can say Dustin Johnson choked away a major with a three-putt to lose the U.S. Open. But you also have to say Jordan Spieth is just what the sport of golf needs right now — a young, good-looking, nice guy, a potential glamor boy for a sport that has been haunted for too long by the specter of Tiger Woods‘ bad-boy misdeeds.

— Watching Tiger play is akin to rubbernecking on the highway. Sure, we want to see the accident. But let’s move on, people. Nothing more to see here.

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Read More: Brad Faxon, Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mavericks PG Rajon Rondo benched after verbal exchange with coach 02.25.15 at 7:58 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Clippers at Rockets, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Spurs at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UMass at Saint Joseph’s, 7 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: UConn at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Virginia at Wake Forest, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: VCU at Richmond, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Central Florida at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Tulane at Tulsa, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Marquette at Butler, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Duke at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Baylor at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Florida State at Miami, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Freso State at Wyoming, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at UCLA, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Oregon at California, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Penguins at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Monaco at Arsenal, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Rajon Rondo‘s honeymoon in Dallas appears to be over.

The former Celtic, who has a history of run-ins with coaches and teammates, had a profanity-laced exchange with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle during a third-quarter timeout and then was stuck on the bench the rest of the night as his team rallied for a 99-92 victory Tuesday night over the visiting Raptors.

The incident started early in the third quarter. With the Mavs trailing by nine, Rondo dribbled the ball past midcourt as Carlisle appeared to call for a play only to be brushed off by his point guard. The coach then abruptly called a timeout and the two argued as the team returned to the bench. Carlise would only say that they had a “difference of opinion.” As for why Rondo did not return to the game, Carlisle said: “Because I’m the coach and that’s the decision I made at that time.”

Added Carlisle: “I thought it worked out well. The other guys stepped up and we were able to win.”

Rondo, who finished with four points, four assists, two turnovers and three fouls, reportedly has been frustrated with his lack of play-calling responsibilities. He did not speak after the game.

Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 18 points, said: “Stuff like that is never good. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. It’s about how the team responds.”

Owner Mark Cuban played down the issue, saying: “It’s an emotional game and sometimes emotions come out. It’s happened many times in the past and will happen many more in the future.”

Carlisle indicated he doesn’t plan to change his rotation for the future, implying the Rondo will start Wednesday night’s game against the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks.

Said Carlisle: “That’s what we brought him here for.”

— Keith Olbermann, no stranger to controversy for his behavior, was suspended by ESPN for insulting Penn State students on Twitter.

Olbermann responded to a tweet from a Penn State alumnus about students raising more than $13 million to fight pediatric cancer by writing that Penn State students are “pitiful,” and that their fundraising “doesn’t change the school’s reputation.”

He eventually apologized, tweeting: I was stupid and childish and way less mature than the students there who did such a great fundraising job.

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Read More: Keith Olbermann, rajon rondo, Rick Carlisle, Roger Goodell
Thinking Out Loud: NFL’s integrity takes another blow with Ndamukong Suh flip-flop 01.02.15 at 2:27 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if anyone actually tries to make good on New Year’s resolutions any more.

— Yeah, that “cleaning up the NFL” thing is going really well, don’t you think? Ndamukong Suh stomps on Aaron Rodgers, gets suspended, complains (says his feet were numb), gets reinstated and then ultimately fined $70K for his transgression. Uh-huh. That means, of course, you aren’t completely innocent. And ya know, if your brain wasn’t numb to begin with, big fella, forcing the NFL to pull an about-face here would never have happened in the first place.

— The league simply blew an opportunity to make good on the whole “integrity of the league is priority one” ideal, stated earlier in the season by commissioner Roger Goodell. I understand Detroit’s side of the argument — losing a player of Suh’s ability could be a deciding factor in a playoff game and largely an unfair disadvantage playing without him. But isn’t integrity above all more important? Guess not.

— I’ve got three New Year’s resolutions that I will be trying to fulfill during 2015. Not a big list, but then again, I’m a realist. Any more than three is just asking for failure. Let’s take a chewable bite out of the New Year, shall we?

— Resolution No. 1: I will stop saying, “Oh, that feels nice,” when the security guards frisk me at Gillette Stadium. And at the airport.

— It meant absolutely zero. But we’ll also find out next week if it actually meant something more than that. The Patriots’ loss to Buffalo was a sham perpetrated on the ticket-buying public, a preseason exhibition that just happened to occur during the regular season. The NFL’s attempt at creating more meaningful, more purposeful football at season’s end backfired here — and created a meaningless game for the Pats to plow through. Sure, that’s good in one way, as they largely kept away from further injury. But it’s also not so good in that there was no real chance to work out the on-field difficulties they currently are experiencing.

— Five straight weeks without scoring on the opening possession, after a period of steamrolling teams out of the gate. Trailing at halftime in four of the past five games. OK, how are these good things heading into the playoffs? Just sayin’.

— To my point, apparently Bill Belichick feels similarly, otherwise the team wouldn’t have held a blue-white situational scrimmage this week inside the stadium. And LeGarrette Blount was 100 percent correct when he said, “Nobody can stop us but us.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Ndamukong Suh, Roger Goodell
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Regretful Adrian Peterson takes ‘full responsibility,’ promises not to use switch again 11.21.14 at 8:31 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Cavaliers at Wizards, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Bulls at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College vs. West Virginia, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas A&M vs. Charleston, noon (ESPNU)
College basketball: Dayton vs. UConn, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Akron vs. Miami, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Seton Hall vs. Nevada, 4 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Iowa vs. Syracuse, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: LSU vs. Old Dominion, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Texas vs. California, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Charlotte vs. South Carolina, 7 pm. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UNLV vs. Stanford, 7 p.m. (Tru)
College basketball: Loyola (Ill.) at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Marshall at Louisville, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Temple vs. Due, 9:30 p.m. (Tru)
NHL: Bruins at Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Boston College at UMass, 7 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
College hockey: UMass-Lowell at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Texas-El Paso at Rice, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College football: San Jose State at Utah State, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Air Force at San Diego State, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Two days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Adrian Peterson had “shown no meaningful remorse” for his child abuse incident, Peterson changed course, telling USA Today that he will no longer use a switch to discipline his kids again.

Peterson hit his 4-year-old, leaving marks that last for weeks, but he insisted he was regretful for the pain he caused.

“No one knows how I felt when I turned my child around after spanking him and seeing what I had left on his leg,” Peterson said. “No one knows that Dad sat there and apologized to him, hugged him and told him that, ‘I didn’t mean to do this to you,’ and how sorry I was.

“I love my son. I love my kids, my family. Like I said after I took the misdemeanor plea, I take full responsibility for my actions. I regret the situation. I love my son more than any one of you could even imagine.”

Peterson has been lumped in with former Ravens running back Ray Rice, who knocked out his then-fiancee with a punch to the face in a hotel elevator, but he said that’s not a fair comparison.

“I take full responsibility, because I spanked my child, and no matter what my intentions were, I end up leaving those marks on his legs,” Peterson said. “That’s the bottom line.

“That’s not what I tried to do, but that’s what ended up happening. Don’t put me in the same [category as Rice].”

Peterson has six children with six women, and he says he tries to maintain a relationship with all of them.

“You can look down on me and say, ‘You have six kids. You should not be at this, you should not be at that,’ ” Peterson said. “This is the cards I’ve been dealt based off my decisions. I make the best of it by spending time with my kids, any and every opportunity that I have.”

Peterson said he hopes to talk to Goodell and would like to return to the Vikings, although he knows not everyone in Minnesota will be welcoming.

“I know who loves me. The coaches and the players, it’s not going to be a problem. I’ve felt so much support from those guys. The organization, I know there’s people in the organization that support me and there’s people that I know internally that has not been supporting me,” said Peterson, adding, “Maybe it’s best for me to get a fresh start somewhere else.”

“I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there,” he said. “But if there’s word out that hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I’ve given everything I had in me.”

Paul Pierce and LeBron James are set to renew acquaintances Friday night in Washington as the Wizards host the Cavaliers, but Pierce downplayed the intensity of their rivalry.

“I think a lot of it is really misunderstood,” the former Celtics star said Thursday. “If I see LeBron walking down the street, it’s not going to be no fistfight. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. It’s like fighting for the same girl. How am I going to be cool with that guy? I’ve got total respect for him as a person. It’s just the thing we go through on the court.”

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Jack Johnson, LeBron James, Paul Pierce
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Adrian Peterson criticizes NFL for ‘refusal to be fair’ 11.17.14 at 8:19 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Steelers at Titans, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Suns at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nuggets at Hornets, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Bulls at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Miami at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Maryland-Eastern Shore at Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Winthrop at Clemson, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Georgia State at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Binghamton at Providence, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Women, UConn at Stanford, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: SMU at Gonzaga, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Detroit at Oregon, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Auburn at Colorado, 1 a.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: New Mexico State at St. Mary’s, 3 a.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at Hawaii, 5 a.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Adrian Peterson criticized the NFL on Sunday, saying the league is treating him unfairly by not allowing him to return to the Vikings since he pleased no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault for spanking his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.

The NFL Players Association field a grievance seeking to allow Peterson to play while commissioner Roger Goodell determines his punishment. The running back remains on paid leave.

MASHUP POLL: Is the NFL treating Adrian Peterson unfairly?

  • Yes, the league should announce its decision and not leave him in limbo (51%, 117 Votes)
  • No, he's the one who misbehaved, and the league has the right to take its time (49%, 111 Votes)

Total Voters: 228

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The league offered to have a hearing this past Friday, but Peterson objected to “outside people I don’t know” attending the hearing and turned it down.

“At this point, I’ve resolved my matter in the criminal court; I’ve worked to make amends for what I’ve done; I’ve missed most of the season, and I stand ready to be candid and forthcoming with Mr. Goodell about what happened,” Peterson said in a statement issued by the union.

“However, I will not allow the NFL to impose a new process of discipline on me, ignore the CBA, ignore the deal they agreed to with me, and behave without fairness or accountability. The process they are pushing is arbitrary, inconsistent and contrary to what they agreed to do, and for those reasons, I never agreed to the hearing.

“I’m sorry for all of this, but I can’t excuse their refusal to be fair.”

Peterson is slated to participate in a grievance hearing Monday before arbitrator Shyam Das.

— Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration paid surprise visits to NFL medical staffs Sunday as part of an investigation into teams’ alleged misuse of prescription drugs.

At least three road teams — the 49ers, Buccaneers and Seahawks — were spot-checked after their games to determine if they were following the law. Former players accused teams of pushing prescription drugs on players in an effort to keep them on the field, without regard for players’ long-term health.

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Roger Goodell,
Report: Roger Goodell testifies for 2-plus hours at Ray Rice appeal 11.06.14 at 10:20 am ET
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Roughly two months after Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, Roger Goodell reportedly testified for more than two hours at Rice’s appeal yesterday, according to the Associated Press.

Rice was suspended indefinitely on Sept. 8 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after a video of him hitting his then-fiancee was released publicly. The former Ravens running back is hoping to be immediately reinstated, but a team would then need to sign him. He has also filed a separate wrongful termination grievance against the Ravens after the team released him.

League security chief Jeffery Miller and Ravens President Dick Cass are also scheduled to testify.

The appeal was held for roughly 10 hours on Wednesday and it is unknown how long it will take for U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones to make a decision.

Read More: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell,
Michael McCann on D&C: Adrian Peterson plea deal ‘makes me think he’s going to come back pretty soon’ 11.05.14 at 10:58 am ET
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Michael McCann

Michael McCann

Sports Illustrated legal analyst and University of New Hampshire law professor Michael McCann joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the Adrian Peterson plea deal. To hear the interview, go the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Peterson entered a no-contest plea in his case for reckless assault on his son, which will allow the running back to avoid going to jail. The hosts wondered how Peterson could easily escape punishment from the law for this incident.

“Under Texas law, it’€™s pretty permissive in terms of parental discipline of children,” McCann said. “And these are among the hardest cases to bring in a state like Texas. I have a feeling that there are different motivations at stake. And one of them was that the prosecution knew that there was a good chance Peterson would be found not guilty. So they themselves get a benefit by the fact that he is now pleaded guilty to a crime, albeit a misdemeanor. So I have a feeling that played a role as well.”

Now that it is known that Peterson will not head to jail, the talk is centered on if the league will allow him to return to the field. Whether commissioner Roger Goodell suspends Peterson or not is up in the air.

“I have a feeling they’ve already talked about this,’€ McCann said. “And the fact that Peterson agreed to a deal makes me think he’€™s going to come back pretty soon. And I think the one sort of plausible way of looking at this from the NFL’€™s perspective is to give him an eight-game suspension, but give him time served for the eight games that he’€™s already missed. And then make him pay for those eight games. Just write a check to the NFL charity for $6 million.”

Continued McCann: “Roger Goodell doesn’t need another headache. He doesn’t need another legal challenge to his penalty. He is in the most compromised state of his career as the NFL commissioner. I think he’€™s going to want to cut a deal himself to have this go in a way that Peterson isn’t going to challenge it.”

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Roger Goodell,
Report: Roger Goodell told to testify in Ray Rice suspension appeal 10.23.14 at 11:12 am ET
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Former Ravens running back Ray Rice will be appealing his indefinite suspension from the NFL, and according to an Associated Press report, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be forced to testify.

The commissioner was unsure he would actually testify, saying he would leave the decision to former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, who is hearing the appeal.

“We will continue to respect Judge Jones’ confidentiality order regarding this proceeding,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to the AP.

NFL lawyers have argued Goodell shouldn’t have to testify and instead there should be testimony from Jeff Pash, the NFL’s general counsel, and Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president for labor policy — both of whom were present when Rice met with Goodell to hear his side of the story from Rice’s incident when he hit his then-fiancee in an elevator.

Goodell originally suspended the running back for two games, but then after the video was released publicly the suspension was made indefinite. Goodell has said Rice’s description was “ambiguous,” while Rice’s side has said he gave exact details.

The AP also says the hearing will be held Nov. 5 and 6.

Read More: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell,
Judge to rule if Roger Goodell should speak during Ray Rice proceedings 10.22.14 at 10:59 am ET
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An arbiter in the Ray Rice case is closing in on a decision if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should have to testify is the running back’€™s hearing.

The proceedings, which are set for Nov. 5 and 6 according to some close to the case, will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones. She will have the final say if Rice’€™s suspension should be rescinded. Union officials believe having Goodell is a key part of the process, saying he should be included in the hearing.

The union is appealing the NFL’€™s suspension of Rice, indicating it punishes him two times for the same crime. Earlier this year, Goodell suspended Rice for two games for hitting his then-fiancee in an elevator.

Once a video inside of the elevator became public in early September, Goodell changed the suspension from two games to an indefinite suspension, citing the league’€™s personal conduct policy. Following the suspension, the Ravens released Rice from his contract.

Read More: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell,