A video posted by TMZ allegedly shows Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee in an elevator.

By Mashable Team2014-09-08 14:07:21 UTC

Editors’ note: The video below contains graphic violence.

Video emerged Monday that appears to show Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancée in an elevator, knocking her unconscious. The tape is sure to put more pressure on the NFL, which suspended Rice for just two games after the incident.

The footage, acquired by TMZ, shows a man believed to be Rice and a woman in a lobby at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Feb. 15, 2014. The woman is believed to be Janay Palmer, now Janay Rice, whom Rice married in March.

After entering an elevator, the two briefly scuffle. The man then hits the woman with his left hand, causing her head to appear to hit the handrail in the elevator. The woman then slumps to the ground and does not move.

The man then proceeds to drag her out of the elevator while she still appears to be unconscious. Security arrives after that.

Ray Rice Elevator Video 01 (1)

Video footage from outside the elevator had already been published by TMZ. But the new recording showed the actual altercation for the first time.

TMZ also reported that the National Football League had seen the video, but the NFL later issued a statement claiming the opposite.

The league gave Rice a two-game suspension, a move that caused widespread outrage even before the elevator video surfaced.

Ray Rice

Ray Rice played for the Ravens in a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers on Aug. 7.

Image: Nick Wass/Associated Press

The punishment was considered far too lenient, particularly in light of drug violations that have cost some players much longer suspensions. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is currently out for the year after testing positive for small traces of marijuana.

Knock your fiancee unconscious and drag her out of an elevator? Two games. Weed? You’re out for the season. Ladies and gents, the NFL.

— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) August 27, 2014

Further fueling the criticism, the Ravens published articles vouching for Rice’s character and recounting a standing ovation he received at a team practice in July. The team also posted a widely criticized tweet in May that noted that Janay Rice had apologized for “the role I played in the incident.”

Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.

— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) May 23, 2014

The backlash forced the NFL to re-evaluate its punishments for domestic violence. League commissioner Roger Goodell has said that “I didn’t get it right” concerning Rice’s suspension.

The NFL announced a new protocol at the end of August: A domestic violence incident now carries a minimum six-game ban, with a second offense resulting in a lifetime ban.

As of now, though, Rice’s suspension is still for just two games, which means he is eligible to return to the Ravens on Friday after their second regular-season game on Thursday night.

Authorities charged Rice with aggravated assault, but he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May. If he completes the one-year program, the charges will be dismissed.

Reaction on Twitter

Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton was among those who weighed in:

That man should be thrown out the the nfl and thrown into jail. Shame on those deciding his punishment. Smh

— Terrance Knighton (@MrKnighton2u) September 8, 2014

As players we must speak up. Stand up for what’s right. I don’t give a damn who u are or how much money you make. No place for this.

— Terrance Knighton (@MrKnighton2u) September 8, 2014

Others were also critical of the response to the incident by Goodell, the NFL and the authorities.

Did @nfl and @nflcommish really think this video wouldn’t eventually surface? That we wouldn’t see that disgrace? Never too late, Goodell

— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) September 8, 2014

.@nflcommish your punishment for beating a woman is less than for smoking weed. Get your head out of your fucking ass.

— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) September 8, 2014

Time to ban Ray Rice for the year and then some. That video is sickening.

— Kevin Burkhardt (@kevinburkhardt) September 8, 2014

The more I think about Ray Rice and that video…the less I care about the @NFL and more I am concerned about our legal system. #Justice

— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) September 8, 2014

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