Just as I predicted, Ray Rice isn't going away quietly:
Ray Rice is expected to appeal his indefinite suspension from the NFL, sources confirmed to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens this past Monday, just hours after TMZ released a video of the star running back punching his then-fiancée in a casino elevator.
The NFL suspended Rice indefinitely shortly after his release, a far more severe penalty than the two-game suspension the league had handed down in July.
Rice must file the appeal by 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday -- three business days after the NFL officially notified the players' union of the suspension.
The NFLPA still has not finalized its plan on a basis for the appeal and is considering multiple ideas, sources told Schefter.
ProFootballTalk.com reported earlier Sunday that Rice planned to appeal the suspension.
The two-game ban drew widespread criticism of the NFL's policy on domestic violence, prompting the league to institute harsher penalties and for commissioner Roger Goodell to admit that he "didn't get it right" in a letter to team owners.
But public outrage intensified this past week in the aftermath of the circulation of the video, which clearly showed Rice punching Janay Palmer -- now his wife -- in the face. Palmer hit her head on a railing inside the elevator and was knocked unconscious.
The NFL and the Ravens both have repeatedly said that they saw the video footage from inside the elevator for the first time Monday.
But an anonymous law enforcement officer told The Associated Press that he personally sent a tape of Rice striking Palmer to an NFL executive in April, sparking further scrutiny of Goodell and the league.
They'll fight it on procedural grouds, and they'll win.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning hospitals and doctors that “now is the time to prepare,” has issued a six-page Ebola “checklist” to help healthcare workers quickly determine if patients are infected.
While the CDC does not believe that there are new cases of Ebola in the United States, the assumption in the checklist is that it is only a matter of time before the virus hits home.
For example, one part reads: “Encourage healthcare personnel to use a ‘buddy system’ when caring for patients.” Another recommends a process to report cases to top officials:
Plan for regular situational briefs for decision-makers, including:
-- Suspected and confirmed EVD patients who have been identified and reported to public health authorities.
-- Isolation, quarantine and exposure reports.
-- Supplies and logistical challenges.
-- Personnel status, and policy decisions on contingency plans and staffing.
The checklist has been distributed to major hospitals and even little ones, including an urgent center in Leesburg, Va.
“Every hospital should ensure that it can detect a patient with Ebola, protect healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond in a coordinated fashion,” warns the CDC.
There have been more than 4,300 cases and 2,300 deaths over the past six months. Last week, the World Health Organization warned that, by early October, there may be thousands of new cases per week in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. What is not getting said publicly, despite briefings and discussions in the inner circles of the world’s public health agencies, is that we are in totally uncharted waters and that Mother Nature is the only force in charge of the crisis at this time.
There are two possible future chapters to this story that should keep us up at night.
The first possibility is that the Ebola virus spreads from West Africa to megacities in other regions of the developing world. This outbreak is very different from the 19 that have occurred in Africa over the past 40 years. It is much easier to control Ebola infections in isolated villages. But there has been a 300 percent increase in Africa’s population over the last four decades, much of it in large city slums. What happens when an infected person yet to become ill travels by plane to Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa or Mogadishu — or even Karachi, Jakarta, Mexico City or Dhaka?
The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. But viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.
If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola. Infections could spread quickly to every part of the globe, as the H1N1 influenza virus did in 2009, after its birth in Mexico.
Let me start off by making it perfectly clear that I think any man who lays a hand on a woman is scum, and deserves everything that comes from it, being loss of job, loss of family, and loss of his livelihood.
Here's what we know:
Ray Rice was observed standing over his unconscious fiance outside of an Atlantic City casino elevator in the wee hours of the morning on Valentine's Day, 2014. Both Rice and his fiance were later arrested and released.
In a statment to Rice, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the punishment comes with the expectation that the running back will continue his counceling.
"You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting," Goodell wrote. "As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate.
"I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations."
For all intents and purposes, he's lost not only his only sources of income, but will most certainly lose any future employment related to football (announcer, analyst, coach, etc.).
Rice has nothing to lose if he brings suit against the NFL. He's got no money, no future, and nothing but upside (financially).
Hear me out, and see if this makes sense.
There is no question that the NFL and the Ravens knew Rice struck his fiance. There was video of her lying unconscious outside the elevator, police reports stating there was an assault, and Rice's own admission to the Commissioner. Rice was also indicted by a Grand Jury. Raven's GM Ozzie Newsome even referenced how the video of Rice dragging his unconscious fiance out of the elevator "doesn't look good".
If you saw video of an unconscious woman, a police report showing an arrest and charge of striking his fiance, and a Grand Jury indictment, how in the world did they think the fiance became unconscious?
“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,” Goodell wrote. “I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”
So now we are up to the events of this week. New video surfaces, showing what took place inside the elevator, the attack itself. Rice is seen brutally punching the woman he loves in the face/head, and we see her drop to the floor, unconscious. It's impossible to watch the video, and not be sick to your stomach. The ravens quickly cut Rice, and the NFL followed suit, banning him indefinitely.
Nothing about the facts of the case really changed, except we saw a man brutally beating a woman into unconsciousness, instead of assuming/understanding it happened prior to what we saw on the first video.
Can't Rice make the case that the Ravens and the NFL should have known what had happened inside the elevator, based on the overwhelming amount of evidence in front of them? Does it pass the "reasonable doubt" test, that a jury of his peers would come to the conclusion that Rice beat his fiance in that elevator? If so, why only a two-game suspension initially, and then a indefinite suspension after the new video came out?
Can't Rice make the case that the Commissioner (who freely admitted months ago the he "got it wrong" with the initial ruling) is now trying to cover his own ass by throwing the book at Rice?
In other words, why was a two-game suspension a just penalty in the recent past, but now that the league is embarrassed by the new video, they have to look tough to save the image of the NFL?
I'm no lawyer, but I think Rice brings a suit against the NFL and the Ravens. Again, he has nothing to lose, and millions to gain.
I can see him saying that he came clean on the initial event, sought counseling, and has been a model person since his "mistake". He didn't lie (that we know of) about what happened in that elevator, so why does a video of his actions carry more weight than his own words describing the account?
If I ran a red light, ran over a pedestrian, and dragged him several blocks under my car, and admitted to all of that, should video surface of the event from a nearby surveillance camera be allowed after the fact to change my punishment?
As someone on Twitter recently said, Rice didn't lose his job because the Ravens and NFL saw that video, he lost it because you did. The Public called for his head, and they got it.
(Again, let me be perfectly clear, Rice deserves to lose everything he has lost, as hitting a woman is never justified, I just think the punishment should have happened the first time around - the evidence was there all along, in the form of Rice's statements, the police reports, the indictment, and the outside-the-elevator footage. I'm not defending Rice's actions in any way whatsoever here, merely pointing out the NFL may have opened itself up to a lawsuit from Rice.)
It will be interesting to see what comes out of the Rice camp in the coming weeks. If he does file suit (and I think he will), it will be along the lines of claiming the NFL and Ravens damaged his ability to earn a living. He'll say that he came clean, accepted the punishment, and now has become a scapegoat due to the NFL admittingly botching what they did.
He won't play the "I didn't do it" card, but will say that the NFL and Ravens got embarrassed, and did everything they could to remove the spotlight from them, and turn it back on to Rice.
If he does file suit, I'll bet you he winds up getting paid.
The NFL currently looks either incompetent or a bunch of liars. Either the all-powerful NFL couldn't get its hands on the elevator tape (which is being denied by local law enforcement), or it didn't think to review them. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Rice defense team will jump all over a league that made $6 billion last year, to get their client paid. If the NFL did indeed view the tape, and only game Rice a two-game suspension, they are toast. If they didn't make an attempt to get their hands on a copy, they look like they didn't take the issue of domestic violence and one of their stars very seriously, which also toasts them.
Rice has nothing to lose by filing suit, and everything to gain. The NFL has a whole lot to lose, and very little upside.
Goodell made the statement Tuesday during an interview with CBS News, saying the latest video released by TMZ Sports about the incident was "inconsistent" with what the former Baltimore Ravens running back had told him. But four sources close to Rice say that during the disciplinary meeting in the commissioner's office on June 16, Rice told Goodell he had hit Janay Rice, then his fiancee, in the face inside a Revel Casino Hotel elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and had knocked her unconscious.
"Ray didn't lie to the commissioner," a source with knowledge of the meeting told "Outside the Lines." "He told the full truth to Goodell -- he made it clear he had hit her, and he told Goodell he was sorry and that it wouldn't happen again."
"He told the truth," a second source said. "This is a public lynching of Ray."
A third source with knowledge of Rice's discussion with the commissioner said: "There was no ambiguity about what happened [in the elevator]." A fourth source also confirmed how the information was relayed at the meeting; however, a fifth source with knowledge of the meeting said Rice told Goodell he had "slapped" his fiancee.
The accounts given by the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, contradict Goodell's statement that he did not know precisely what had happened inside the elevator until he watched the TMZ Sports-released videotape on Monday morning. After The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a copy of the in-elevator video was sent by a law enforcement official to an unnamed NFL executive last April, the league announced former FBI chief Robert Mueller would lead an independent inquiry of the Rice matter, overseen by New York Giants owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney.
Goodell will lose his job, and Ray is going to get a "severance" payment.
The first rule of holes is a simple one - when you find yourself in one, stop digging. Goodell got a bigger shovel:
During the CBS News interview, the network's Norah O'Donnell reminded Goodell that an earlier TMZ Sports-released security camera video, made public last February, showed Rice dragging his fiancee's unconscious body from the elevator.
"We did not know what led up to that," Goodell replied. "We did not know the details of that. We asked for that on several occasions." Goodell has said the league asked for the video from four law enforcement agencies shortly after the incident and again after Rice was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program on May 20.
Besides the first TMZ video and Rice's own account of what happened during the June 16 meeting, Goodell also had access to an Atlantic City Municipal Court complaint, dated Feb. 15, which is public record. The complaint alleges Rice committed "assault by attempting to cause bodily injury to J. Palmer, specifically by striking [her] with [his] hand, rendering her unconscious, at the Revel casino."
My gut is that Goodell is playing loose with the facts - he didn't actually see a punch, so therefore it might not have happened. At the same time, he didn't appear to have asked if a punch (or punches) were thrown, and by not viewing the video, insulates himself from actually having to see it. In a way, he's telling the truth, but being dishonest by not doing everything in his power to try and find out what happened.
Again, Rice didn't get the boot because the NFL saw the tape, he got 86'd because you saw it.
If the NFL investigation shows that Rice was upfront about what he said happened (and it's looking more and more like that is the case), Ray is going to get paid.
The Ravens GM says what Rice told him, and what's on the tape match up:
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said this week that Rice was truthful about what happened inside the elevator in conversations with he and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "You know, Ray had given a story to John and I," Newsome told The Baltimore Sun. "And what we saw on the video was what Ray said. Ray didn't lie to me. He didn't lie to me."
So why lie to the League, but be honest with the team? Rice and his handlers had to know they would compare stories.
The statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season has arrived and for the first time since 1992 there isn’t a named storm in the basin.
While forecasters are watching a pair of potential systems, neither is likely to grow into a tropical storm by the end of today. So far, four storms have gotten names in the Atlantic this year.
In records going back to 1851, Sept. 10 is the day when the odds are greatest there will be at least one tropical storm or hurricane somewhere in the Atlantic.
Still, it would be a mistake for everyone to let their guard down, said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster for the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“The season isn’t over and it is not shut down,” Bell said by telephone. “While it is weaker than average we already had one hurricane strike North Carolina this year. We need people to stay prepared.”
It is also too early to tell if there is a larger shift under way in the Atlantic that could herald in an era of fewer storms, he said.
Since 1995, the basin has been in the midst of what is called the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation. This means it has been warmer than normal and the chances for weaker storms to grow stronger are enhanced, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Until this year's epidemic, Ebola did not exist in West Africa. Now with more than 1,800 people dead from the virus, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, scientists still don't fully understand how Ebola arrived from Central Africa, where outbreaks of this strain of the virus had occurred in the past.
A new model by Oxford University, that is published in the journal eLife, takes a look at the most likely explanation -- that Ebola's animal reservoir, fruit bats, could spread the disease in the animal kingdom and to humans through the dense forest that spans 22 countries.
According to the Oxford model, in addition to the seven countries who have reported Ebola outbreaks in this epidemic and in past outbreaks since the disease was identified 1976, 15 other countries are at risk. There are five known strains of Ebola, and the one currently causing the West African outbreak, Zaire, is the most virulent. The other strains, Sudan, Taï Forest and Bundibugyo, have caused contained outbreaks in Ivory Coast, Sudan, and Uganda in the past. And the Reston species has not caused any known outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.
According to the Oxford prediction, these countries are at risk of animal-to-human transmission of Ebola by virtue of their geography: Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar and Malawi.
"Our map shows the likely ‘reservoir’ of Ebola virus in animal populations, and this is larger than has been previously appreciated," said the study's author Nick Golding, a researcher at Oxford University’s Department of Zoology. "This does not mean that transmission to humans is inevitable in these areas; only that all the environmental and epidemiological conditions suitable for an outbreak occur there.’"
The Ebola virus is spreading exponentially across Liberia as patients fill taxis in a fruitless search for medical care, the World Health Organization said Monday.
In Sierra Leone, a doctor working for WHO tested positive and was preparing to be evacuated from the country. Meanwhile, the newest U.S. patient, a doctor infected in Liberia, was feeling a little better and could even eat a little, doctors treating him in Nebraska said.
The various reports illustrated in the clearest possible way the disparities driving the epidemic in West Africa, where there’s almost no medical system structure. The three patients evacuated to the United States have all begun to recover quickly once they get good supportive care, which includes around-the-clock nursing care and good nutrition.
“In Monrovia, taxis filled with entire families, of whom some members are thought to be infected with the Ebola virus, crisscross the city, searching for a treatment bed. There are none. As WHO staff in Liberia confirm, no free beds for Ebola treatment exist anywhere in the country.”
For example, in Montserrado county, 1,000 beds are urgently needed but only 240 beds are available. WHO has said more than 3,600 people have been infected with Ebola in this West African epidemic, and 2,000 have died, but the organization predicts as many as 20,000 will be sickened before it’s over. Half of those infected have been dying.
“According to a WHO staff member who has been in Liberia for the past several weeks, motorbike-taxis and regular taxis are a hot source of potential Ebola virus transmission, as these vehicles are not disinfected at all, much less before new passengers are taken on board,” WHO said.
“When patients are turned away at Ebola treatment centers, they have no choice but to return to their communities and homes, where they inevitably infect others, perpetuating constantly higher flare-ups in the number of cases.”
Medical officials admitted a record number of children to a local hospital over the weekend because of what they believe to be a rare respiratory virus spreading throughout the country.
Although there's been no confirmed cases of the enterovirus at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, officials admitted 540 patients Friday, said Dr. Derek Wheeler, associate chief of staff at the hospital.
The previous record was around 515, Wheeler said.
Some reports out of Missouri and Colorado suggest the virus, with symptoms similar to the common cold, brought sicker patients to hospitals, Wheeler said.
"We're just seeing the (increased) volumes, we haven't seen (patients) sicker than usual yet," he said.
Hospitals from other states have placed restrictions on visitations, but Wheeler said there are no plans to do that in Cincinnati.
The virus is similar to what doctors treat during cold and flu season. That means nothing really changes if a child comes down with the rare virus, he said.
"The bottom line is this is a virus you wouldn't treat with antibiotics, so other than the (high-level of) interest, there's no reason we would need to know it's an enterovirus," Wheeler said.
This particular type of enterovirus — EV-D68 — is uncommon, but not new. It was first identified in the 1960s.
"I suspect that it's something that hasn't been around for a while and so there's a lot of people susceptible to it," Wheeler said.