Ray Rice's wife, Janay, likely to testify at NFL grievance hearing

BY Mike Garafolo • October 23, 2014

Janay Rice, the wife of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, likely will testify during the grievance hearing regarding her husband's indefinite suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, two sources with knowledge of Rice's camp's plans told FOX Sports.

As part of her testimony, Janay Rice will offer her account of the meeting she and Ray had with Goodell before Goodell's initial two-game suspension of Rice.

The grievance hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5-6.

The NFL Players Association requested testimony from all of the individuals associated with the league who were in the room for Goodell's meeting with Ray and Janay Rice after the running back was arrested in February. The NFL agreed to make executives Jeff Pash and Adolpho Birch available but declined the union's requests for Goodell, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and team president Dick Cass, a source said.

Judge Barbara S. Jones, who is serving as the neutral arbiter for the case, informed the parties on Wednesday that Goodell, Newsome and Cass will be compelled to testify, per the source.

Janay Rice's testimony will be voluntary. It's clear she, the union and Rice's independent counsel are interested in having her back up her husband's assertion that he didn't lie in his meeting with Goodell. The commissioner has maintained the account he received from Ray Rice did not match what he saw on the video — Rice punching his wife — that was later leaked.

Goodell admitted during a press conference last month that he regrets interviewing Janay and Ray Rice at the same time.

"Yes, it's part of the learnings that we’ve had throughout this is that there are certain proper ways of having those kinds of discussions when couples are going through domestic violence issues and we have learned that," Goodell said. "And we have learned that from our experts, they said we shouldn’t have them in the same room or we should give them the opportunity to speak separately also. And that’s something that we have learned from this and we will correct going forward."

The NFL would not confirm whether Goodell actually will testify. He said this month he would leave the decision to Judge Jones.

''We will continue to respect Judge Jones' confidentiality order regarding this proceeding,'' NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

Rice was suspended indefinitely Sept. 8 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. Goodell originally had suspended him for two games.

Once the video became public, the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice, and the league banned him indefinitely. The league considered the video to be new evidence, giving Goodell the authority to further suspend Rice.

The players union appealed Rice's suspension, saying he should not be punished twice.

Jones was jointly picked by the commissioner and the players union to hear the appeal. The union said at the time that Goodell's testimony as a witness would be crucial in the proceedings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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