Ray Rice is free to return to the NFL after an arbitrator Friday vacated his indefinite suspension by the league for hitting his then-fiancee and now wife, Janay Palmer Rice, in a hotel elevator, the Associated Press writes.
The former Baltimore Ravens running back is now a free agent and “eligible to play upon signing a new contract,” the report says. Now it’s just a question of whether another team will consider signing him, the news outlet notes.
The arbitrator, former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to shift Rice’s original suspension from two games to indefinite was “arbitrary’ and an “abuse of discretion.” The indefinite suspension was a response to an outcry over the league’s response to domestic violence, the report says.
Rice said Friday in a statement released by the players union, according to AP:
I would like to thank Judge Barbara Jones, the NFL Players Association, my attorneys, agents, advisers, family, friends and fans—but most importantly, my wife Janay. I made an inexcusable mistake and accept full responsibility for my actions. I am thankful that there was a proper appeals process in place to address this issue. I will continue working hard to improve myself and be the best husband, father and friend, while giving back to my community and helping others to learn from my mistakes.
Read more at the Associated Press.