Ravens' Ray Rice accepted into pretrial program, still faces possible NFL discipline

Anwar S. Richardson
Shutdown Corner
Ravens' Rice Pleads Not Guilty to Assault
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice pleaded not guilty Thursday to assault charges stemming from an incident with his then-girlfriend in an Atlantic City casino elevator. (May 1)

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will avoid jail time after an alleged domestic-violence incident. Now he must hope for the same luck with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Rice was accepted into a pre-trial program that could allow him to avoid prosecution for allegedly knocking his now-wife unconscious at Atlantic City’s Revel Casino in February, according to The Baltimore Sun. The running back pleaded not guilty to one count of third-degree aggravated assault, and will enter a program for first-time offenders.

"After considering all relevant information in light of applicable law it was determined this was the appropriate disposition,” acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said in a statement (via The Baltimore Sun).

Originally, Rice and Palmer were each charged with simple assault after authorities said he assaulted her at casino. However, the charges against Palmer were eventually dropped.

Michael Diamondstein, Rice’s attorney, said his client will participate in the pretrial intervention program for the next year, he must stay out of trouble, and continue to receive family counseling with his wife, Janay Palmer. Rice and Palmer married not long after the alleged incident, and she wrote a letter to the court in support of her husband.

"We're very happy with this result," Diamondstein told The Baltimore Sun. "Rice will now be able to move forward with his life, and he and Janay are looking forward to putting this behind him."

Rice is on the path to put this legal issue behind him, but still must answer to Goodell.

The NFL could discipline Rice for this incident, even if he avoids jail time. Goodell suspended Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger for six games (later reduced to four) during the 2010 season after the quarterback was investigated by law enforcement officials for an alleged sexual assault in Georgia. Roethlisberger was never charged with a crime.

Goodell has the option of suspending Rice, but there is no timetable for that decision. Rice has been participating in Baltimore’s offseason program in spite of his legal issues.

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at NFLAnwar@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!