Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
As Chris Rainey appeared before a judge Friday morning, his alleged victim shared her account with the court via e-mail, contradicting the details of the incident which resulted in his arrest.
First, there was a new eyewitness account which was relayed to Deadspin.com. The statement insisted Rainey did not slap his girlfriend with his open hand as the police reports had indicated. As Rainey stood before a judge on Friday, a second e-mail was brought into the light by Rainey's attorney. It was written by Rainey's girlfriend - the alleged victim in the case - claiming he never struck her and never caused her to feel afraid or threatened.
According to Rainey's attorney as he read the victim's e-mail heard on the court's video transcript released by the Gainesville Sun, the dispute began when the victim discovered Rainey was carrying a second cell phone as they hugged goodbye. The victim grabbed his phone and stashed it into a backpack she was carrying.
The couple argued exiting Rainey's home as the victim attempted to enter the passenger seat of a car driven by Rainey's roommate. Both the victim and the eyewitness who shared their story with Deadspin confirm Rainey reached for the backpack, and the ensuing struggle is what caused the victim to fall to the ground - not an open-handed slap to the face.
As Rainey's attorney pointed out, there were no marks on the victims face when the police responders arrived on the scene to arrest Rainey, nor were there any later when Rainey's attorney met with the victim.
Upon the conclusion of the hearing, Rainey was released on bond with a no contact provision in place.
Should Rainey be found not guilty by the end of this ordeal, curiosity will begin pointing fingers at the Steelers for releasing him for an act he was not found guilty of. His release had already sparked questions because teams technically aren't allowed to release any player until after the Super Bowl, to prevent playoff teams from being able to snatch up early cap casualties mid-playoff run.
Rainey has had other run-ins with the law before the incident in question, obviously parts of the reasoning behind the Steelers waiving of Rainey. Even if he is found innocent of the domestic violence charge, Rainey still permitted himself to be in the situation and allowed it to escalate to the point of police involvement. Considering he was already labeled a character risk entering the 2012 draft, the Steelers will only see this incident as the continuance of a trend regardless of it's judicial outcome. It is not completely impossible for the Steelers to change their mind before the Super Bowl, and not waive Rainey after all; but it is highly improbable as the team appears to be setting a new standard for personal conduct policies.
As Rainey's attorney attested before the judge on Friday, he was cut by the Steelers hours after the arrest; but he will not stay unemployed for long - especially if he is found innocent.