By Steve Ginsburg
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ray Rice on Tuesday appealed his indefinite suspension by the National Football League for a one-punch knockout of his wife as the former Baltimore Ravens running back tries to resuscitate his once-flourishing career.
Meanwhile, the NFL continues to grapple with domestic violence issues as some of its top players, including Adrian Peterson, are under scrutiny both by the league and the public.
Rice was originally suspended for two games by the NFL for beating up then-fiancee Janay Palmer in the elevator of an Atlanta City, New Jersey casino in February. But after a grainy video surfaced last week showing the punch inside the elevator, the Ravens cut Rice and the league suspended him indefinitely.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Rice was set to enter his seventh season in the NFL after being selected out of Rutgers in the second round of the draft. He was the Ravens' leading ground gainer in the 2012 and helped lead the team to a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Rice was indicted in March by a grand jury on third-degree aggravated assault, but the charge was dropped because now-wife Janay Palmer declined to testify against him. He ultimately agreed to court-supervised counseling as part of a pre-trial intervention program.
The situation involving Rice helped thrust the issue of domestic violence into the spotlight, and the NFL responded Monday by hiring four women to help shape its approach.
Peterson, facing charges in Texas of causing injury to his son by disciplining him with a tree branch, was reinstated by the Vikings on Monday after being held out of Sunday's 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots.
The Vikings said they will wait for the legal process to play out.
Two other players under the cloud of domestic abuse, Carolina's Greg Hardy and San Francisco's Ray McDonald were dealt with differently by their respective teams on Sunday.
Hardy was pulled from the line-up, while the 49ers allowed McDonald to play.
A Pro Bowl defensive end, Hardy was found guilty in July of assaulting a female and communicating threats but the five-year NFL veteran is appealing the verdict. The Panthers have not yet said whether he will play this week against Pittsburgh.
McDonald played against the Chicago Bears, a 28-20 49ers loss, and the team said he will remain in the line-up while the legal process plays out. He was arrested Aug. 31 on charges of felony domestic violence for allegedly hitting his pregnant fiance.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)