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Report: Rice's wife made case to Goodell for lesser punishment

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Ray Rice will miss the first two games of the 2014 season. (USATSI)
Ray Rice will miss the first two games of the 2014 season. (USATSI)

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On Thursday, the NFL suspended Ravens running back Ray Rice for the first two games of the 2014 season. The punishment, which was widely criticized as too lenient, was handed down months after Rice was indicted on a third-degree assault charge following a physical incident with his now-wife, Janay Palmer, at an Atlantic City hotel.

But a source told the TheMMQB.com's Peter King that one of the reasons NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell levied just a two-game suspension was because Palmer "made a moving and apparently convincing case to Goodell during a June 16 hearing ... that the incident in the hotel elevator was a one-time event, and nothing physical had happened in their relationship before or since."

King's source added that Palmer urged the commissioner "to not ruin Rice's image and career with his sanctions."

Additional reasons, according to King, that Rice was suspended for just two games: 1) It was his first violation of any NFL policy; 2) He was not convicted of a crime in conjunction with the incident; 3) Rice has been the Ravens' leading player when it comes to volunteer work in the community; 4) Rice admitted his mistake soon after the incident and sought counseling.

Arbitrarily meting out punishments continues to be a criticism of Goodell's enforcement strategy. The problem -- and we've written this before -- is that it's impossible to predict what he might do, which defeats the purpose of any sort of legal system.

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