Rice, the former running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was dropped from the team on September 8 and suspended from the NFL indefinitely after footage of him punching and knocking unconscious his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an elevator surfaced courtesy of TMZ.
Janay—now Janay Rice—did not call off her marriage and has been vocal in her support for her husband, despite the public outrage his actions evoked.
The controversy has sparked both conversation and debate among the public and the NFL about how domestic violence cases should be handled in the world of professional football. Commissioner Roger Goodell has since strengthened the punishments for players in the midst of the Rice case, including an immediate six game suspension for the first domestic violence offense.
While it is possible for Ray Rice to be reinstated during this season, it does not necessarily mean that he will play. While Rice has already passed the threshold for the six game suspensions, other teams may not want to pick up the 27 year old due to anticipation of the backlash they may face. The rumor mills are already turning with talks of Rice getting signed to the New England Patriots or the Indianapolis Colts, where he already has professional ties with coaches on those teams, however.
Rice’s fate rests in the hands of former US District Court Judge Barbara S. Jones, the third party arbitrator assigned to the Rice hearing. Within the month, Rice’s future will be decided, and it’s a good bet that no matter the final word, more debate will likely follow.