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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ordered to testify in Ray Rice appeal hearing, sources say

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ordered to testify in Ray Rice appeal hearing, sources say
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been ordered to testify in former Ravens running back Ray Rice's appeal hearing, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

NFL lawyers have been resistant to having Goodell testify in the hearing, set for Nov. 5 and Nov. 6, hoping to avoid a he-said, he-said situation between the league's top executive and the three-time Pro Bowl running back, who was suspended indefinitely by the league.

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Former federal judge Barbara S. Jones, the third-party arbitrator appointed by Goodell in consultation with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, has decided to have Goodell testify as a witness, according to sources.

The NFL had no immediate comment, but Goodell said during the fall league meeting that whether he testified would be at the judge's discretion. League spokesman Brian McCarthy previously told The Baltimore Sun: "We intend to comply with the confidentiality order entered by Judge Jones regarding the appeal proceedings."

Goodell increased Rice's two-game suspension for violating the NFL personal-conduct policy, which stemmed from the former Ravens player's domestic violence incident, to an indefinite suspension after a video surfaced of Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino elevator.

In a disciplinary letter to Rice, Goodell said he based the punishment on "new evidence," and said that the video differed from Rice's account of events. Rice will testify that he told the truth to Goodell and the Ravens, according to sources.

Rice's representatives will argue that the NFL and the Ravens have violated Article 46 of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, which governs "One Punishment" and prohibits a player from being punished twice for the same violation.

Rice has also filed a grievance against the Ravens, citing wrongful termination. The Ravens terminated Rice's $35 million contract on Sept. 8, shortly before Goodell upgraded his NFL discipline.

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