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Ray Rice was indefinitely suspended. Why weren't these players?

Greg Hardy.
Greg Hardy.
(Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

On Monday, Ray Rice was released from the Baltimore Ravens and indefinitely suspended from the NFL. This occurred after a graphic video surfaced showing him knocking out his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City elevator.

Rice's NFL career is likely over. But he is far from the first NFL player to commit a brutal act of domestic violence. He is simply the first one who got caught doing so on tape — and, as Dara Lind notes, this episode mainly emphasizes how important video documentation is in cases of domestic violence.

Here are three other NFL players who allegedly committed acts of domestic violence in the last calendar year. None of them have been suspended. Two of them took the field on Sunday.

Ray McDonald

McDonald, a defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers, played against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. A little over a week ago — a few days after the league announced stricter penalties for domestic violence — he was arrested and charged with domestic abuse.

This occurred after police were called to his house at 2:48 am. They found his 10-week pregnant wife with bruises on her neck and arms.

When asked why McDonald was permitted to play, 49ers coach John Harbaugh said, "The way the facts are and what’s known, he has the liberty to play in the game." The NFL is reportedly waiting for his legal case to play out before considering a suspension.

Greg Hardy

Hardy, a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers, played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. In July, he was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her.

According to the victim, Hardy picked her up, threw her into a bathtub, dragged her across the floor by her hair, then choked her with both hands. "He looked me in my eyes and he told me he was going to kill me," she said"I was so scared I wanted to die."

The NFL has indicated they will follow their precedent of waiting for legal cases to be fully resolved before suspending first-time offenders of the league conduct policy — and Hardy is currently appealing his case. In July, a league spokesman said Hardy's case will be reviewed at an "appropriate time."

A.J. Jefferson

Jefferson, a former cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings, did not play on Sunday. That is not because of his record of domestic violence, but because of an ankle injury.

In November, he was charged with felony domestic assault by strangulation. Police were called to his home at 5:30 am, after he allegedly awoke his then-girlfriend by strangling her, then picking her up by her neck and throwing her on the floor, while yelling at her for ignoring his text messages. Police noted that "She said she did not fight back because she was having a hard time breathing and he is a lot bigger than her."

Soon afterward, he was released from the Vikings. This case was different in that Jefferson is not a star player, and getting rid of a backup for domestic violence isn't all that hard for a team. But the Seattle Seahawks were presumably undeterred: in May, they signed him. He was injured during the preseason and is now on the team's Injured Reserve list, meaning he will not play this season but will collect his regular salary.

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