The three-time Pro Bowl runner's appeal will be heard by former federal judge Barbara S. Jones, an arbitrator appointed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in consultation with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
Jones is deciding this week if Goodell will be compelled to testify in the hearing, which NFL lawyers have been resistant to allowing. It's at Jones' discretion, though, whether the NFL's top executive will be a witness in the hearing.
Goodell increased Rice's original two-game suspension for violating the NFL personal-conduct policy to an indefinite one, citing "new evidence" that he said contradicted Rice's account of his domestic violence incident in an Atlantic City casino elevator. According to sources, Rice will testify that he told the truth to Goodell and the Ravens about the incident with his then-fiancee, Janay, whom he later married.
The players' union and Rice's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, are expected to argue that Rice was punished twice for the same incident and contend that the NFL and the Ravens violated Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement, which governs "One Punishment" for a single offense. They are also expected to argue that the NFL based its decision to increase Rice's punishment on an edited video released by the celebrity website TMZ.
The NFLPA and Rice's representatives don't want to wait until former FBI director Robert Mueller III concludes his investigation into the handling and pursuit of evidence in the Rice case. They are hoping to get Rice reinstated as soon as possible in an effort to get him back on an NFL roster.
Whether Rice will get back into the NFL remains undetermined, but former NFL general manager Charley Casserly told The Baltimore Sun that there is a blueprint for the three-time Pro Bowl runner to resume his career based on how quarterback Michael Vick rehabilitated his image after his involvement in a dogfighting ring and serving time in a federal prison.
Rice has hired a crisis management expert to advise him, according to sources.