WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Speaking out against domestic violence in the wake of a video showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in an elevator, President Barack Obama said on Monday that "hitting a woman is not something a real man does."
“The President is the father of two daughters. And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
"Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that’s true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors," the White House statement added, saying that stopping domestic violence "is something that’s bigger than football."
The Ravens released Rice on Monday after the video, published on the website TMZ, showed him punching Janay Palmer, who is now his wife, and her falling face down on the elevator floor. Rice, 27, was also suspended indefinitely by the National Football League.
A previously released video showed Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer from the elevator at an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino, earlier this year. Following its release, the NFL suspended Rice for two games and fined him $500,000, a punishment widely criticized as too lenient.
(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Ken Wills)