On Tuesday night, the NFL Players Association filed an appeal of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's indefinite suspension.
The appeal was expected, USA Today reports. Ordinarily, appeals of discipline would go to the commissioner, in this case Roger Goodell, but the union does not want him to participate. "This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players," the NFLPA said in a statement:
The NFLPA appeal is based on supporting facts that reveal a lack of a fair and impartial process, including the role of the office of the Commissioner of the NFL. We have asked that a neutral and jointly selected arbitrator hear this case as the Commissioner and his staff will be essential witnesses in the proceeding and thus cannot serve as impartial arbitrators. [NFLPA]
Rice was originally suspended for two games, before Goodell extended his suspension to an indefinite ban on Sept. 8 following the release of a video of Rice punching his then-fiancée, now wife, last February in an elevator. After it was reported that an NFL executive had received a tape of the incident in the mail five months ago, the NFL announced it had retained former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III to conduct an investigation into how the evidence was handled.
While DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA, said the video was "disturbing," the union said in a statement that "under governing labor law, an employee cannot be punished twice for the same action when all of the relevant facts are available to the employer at the time of the first punishment."