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NFL's Rice, anti-bullying advocate, arrested with fiancée after fight

By David Jones

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, known for his anti-bullying advocacy, was arrested over the weekend with his fiancée at a hotel-casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, after a physical altercation between the couple, police said on Sunday.

The couple's fight early on Saturday at the Revel Casino Hotel was captured in surveillance video footage that showed Rice, 27, and his bride-to-be, Janay Palmer, 26, hitting each other with their hands, police said in a statement.

After reviewing the tape, Atlantic city police officers called to the scene signed a complaint against the couple, and both were taken into custody and booked on suspicion of simple assault-domestic violence, police said.

Rice and Palmer, residents of Reiterstown, Maryland, outside Baltimore, each declined any medical attention.

They were released on a summons requiring them to appear February 25, at Atlantic City Municipal Court.

Attorney Michael Diamondstein, hired to represent Rice, told Reuters he had not seen the police complaint but understood that the couple's confrontation was verbal.

"I just know that Ray Rice is an extremely high-character individual," he said. "My understanding is he had a verbal argument with his fiancée. Hopefully after the investigation this will be nothing more than a misunderstanding."

Baltimore Ravens spokesman Chad Steele confirmed an earlier statement that the team had spoken to Rice and that he and his fiancée returned home together after being detained.

Rice, a second-round Ravens draft pick from Rutgers University in 2008, ranks among Baltimore's most popular and talented players, rushing for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns during six seasons with the National Football League.

A three-time Pro Bowl player, he signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Ravens in 2012 and helped Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers at the end of that season. Rice had a disappointing 2013 season, posting just 660 yards rushing.

He also is known for his "Ray of Hope" campaign against bullying, hosting rallies and appearing in public service messages that urge young people to treat one another with kindness and respect.

(Reporting by David Jones in Newark; Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh)

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