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Ray Rice released by Ravens after elevator altercation video surfaces

Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens

Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens addresses a news conference with his wife Janay (not pictured) at the Ravens training center on May 23, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland. Photo Credit: Getty/Rob Carr

Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, hours after a video that appears to show the running back knocking out his then-fiancé with one punch while the two argued inside an elevator at an Atlantic City hotel in February was released on the website on Monday morning.

"The #Ravens have terminated RB Ray Rice's contract this afternoon," the team wrote on its verified Twitter account Monday afternoon.

The new video shows a man identified by TMZ as Rice entering the elevator with a woman identified as Janay Palmer, now Rice's wife. Once inside the elevator, the couple begins arguing. Rice initially seems to slap Palmer, who then starts toward the star Ravens player. Rice follows by striking Palmer with his left hand. She crumples to the ground, hitting her head on the elevator hand rail, which seems to knock her unconscious. When the door opens, Rice drags her from the elevator. There is no sound on the video.

Previously released surveillance video showed Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator during the Feb. 15 altercation inside the Revel Hotel and Casino.

The NFL, which issued a two-game suspension to Rice that was roundly criticized for not sending a strong enough message against domestic violence, said in a statement shortly after Monday's video release that league officials did not see the video showing Rice punching the woman while it deliberated about Rice's suspension.

"We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until [Monday]."

The Ravens said they had not seen the video until now. Earlier in the day, senior vice president Kevin Byrne said the team had no immediate comment on the video.

It is unclear whether the NFL will revisit Rice's situation in light of the release of this latest video. The league did not comment when asked whether it would re-open the case.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged in a letter to NFL owners on Aug. 28 that he "got it wrong" by not issuing a stiffer penalty. He said the league would now recommend that any player involved in domestic violence be suspended six games for a first offense and then a minimum of one year for a second.

"Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong," Goodell said. "They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances."

"We allowed our standards to fall below where they should be and lost an important opportunity to emphasize our strong stance on a critical issue and the effective programs we have in place," Goodell said of his decision to suspend Rice for only two games. "My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will."

Several current and former players criticized Goodell and Rice after seeing the video on Monday.

"That man should be should be thrown out the the NFL and thrown into jail," Broncos defensive lineman Terrance Knightley wrote on his Twitter account. "Shame on those deciding his punishment. Smh."

Knighton added: "If there's anyway to open that case up and give this guy the punishment he deserves, it NEEDS to be done. As players we must speak up. Stand up for what's right. I don't give a [darn] who u are or how much money you make. No place for this."

Former NFL center LeCharles Bentley tweeted: "2 games?!?! His [butt] needs to be in jail. I don't smoke weed but I'd rather have a weed head on my team than a Ray Rice. #Coward"

Said former NFL quarterback Brady Quinn on his Twitter account: "Am I the only one who believes it should be a lifetime ban for the first time a player commits domestic violence? They should be done period."

The 27-year-old Rice, from New Rochelle, was charged with felony aggravated assault in the case, but in May he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that allowed him to avoid jail time and could lead to the charge being purged from his record.

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