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Ray Rice released by Ravens, indefinitely suspended

The Baltimore Ravens announced the release of Ray Rice on Monday.

Shortly after, an NFL spokesperson announced that the running back has been suspended indefinitely.

A video emerged on TMZ of Rice punching his now-wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator. Rice was previously suspended two games on July 24 for violating the league's personal conduct policy for the same incident.

The Ravens supported Rice as an organization in the immediate aftermath of the incident back in March, but the release of this video changed their stance. NFL Media's Judy Battista was told the Ravens heard a "softer" version of the events included on the videotape. The NFL said Monday that they had not seen the video during their investigation. 

"We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today," the league said in a statement released to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

TMZ reported Tuesday morning that the NFL did not ask the Atlantic City casino for the Rice elevator tape.

The league released the following statement in response: "Security for Atlantic City casinos is handled by the New Jersey State Police. Any videos related to an ongoing criminal investigation are held in the custody of the state police. As we said yesterday: We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us."

Lt. Brian Polite, New Jersey State Police PIO, confirmed to NFL Media on Tuesday that the jurisdiction in regards to the Rice incident was not with their department but instead with the Atlantic City Police Department. He also confirmed that the New Jersey State Police never had the video of the Rice incident.

"We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including any video that may exist. We spoke to members of the New Jersey State Police and reached out multiple times to the Atlantic City Police Department and the Atlantic County prosecutor's office. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office saw it until yesterday," the league later said in a second statement.

"We do not interfere with law enforcement investigations. We cooperate with law enforcement and seek any information that can be appropriately provided."

Per Paul Loriquet, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, "Per It's grand jury material. It would have been improper -- in fact, illegal -- for the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office to provide it to an outside/private/non law-enforcement entity."

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday it did not take long to decide to release Rice after seeing the video.

"It's something we saw for the first time today -- it changed things," Harbaugh said.

Rapoport reported, according to a league source, that teams were informed that any contact between them and Rice won't be approved or take effect until direction from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's office.

Since Rice's suspension, Goodell announced sweeping changes to the personal conduct policy concerning domestic violence cases. Violations regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force "will be subject to a suspension without pay of six games for a first offense." A second offense will result in banishment from the NFL for at least one year.

Goodell expressed regret about the league's handling of Rice's suspension in a letter to NFL owners on Aug. 28.

"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," Goodell wrote. "I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will."

UPDATE: Rice's wife, Janay, released the following statement Tuesday morning on her Instagram account, per The Baltimore Sun.

"I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend," Janay Rice wrote. "But to have to accept the fact that it's reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that hte media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

"THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don't you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!"

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