#BBCtrending: Will the Ray Rice video help or hurt abuse victims?

Ray Rice and his wife Janay at a press conference on May 23 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ray Rice was suspended for two games after striking then-fiancee Janay Palmer in February

The Baltimore Ravens have cut team member Ray Rice following the release of a video showing the running back striking his then-fiancee in February.

Earlier on Monday, the footage caused a firestorm on social media, with many calling for stricter sanctions against the National Football League (NFL) star.

A version of the video released earlier this year showed Rice dragging his unconscious girlfriend, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator in Atlantic City.

Both he and Palmer were charged with assault stemming from this event.

Her charge was dropped and he entered into a pretrial intervention programme. If completed successfully, the charges against him will also be dropped.

Rice initially received a two-game suspension, a move NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later labelled too lenient. Goodell subsequently announced new sanctions against players who commit domestic violence.

But a new video of the altercation emerged on celebrity site TMZ.com early on Monday, showing a much more graphic depiction of events. The black-and-white security footage shows Rice punching Palmer in the elevator with such force that she falls to the ground, knocking her head on the handrail.

Image copyright Twitter

It has sparked a far-ranging conversation on social media to about the league's initial response and the lack of legal consequences for Rice.

Many have expressed concern for Palmer, who recently married Rice, and questioned the value of sharing the video.

Image copyright Twitter

But the video has been an eye-opener for many people who excuse violent behaviour against women, says Ruth Glenn, interim executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Image copyright Twitter

"Those of us who have been working in this field for a very long time understand that this is not uncommon, this happens every day," she says. "I think social media has changed it a lot where we have an eye on it now, we can see it."

According to Glenn, such events can spur public discourse and potentially lead to change.

Image copyright Twitter

Indeed, the new video has cast the initial reaction to the incident in a new light, with the initial response by the league, the police and the team all being scrutinised anew.

Mere hours after the video's release, the Ravens announced they had terminated Rice's contract.

Image copyright Twitter

Following the news, fresh speculation arose online as to whether the team had cut the football star from their line-up for the violence incident, or for the negative public relations that followed.

Reporting by Debbie Siegelbaum and Ashley Semler

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