September 8, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
Football, despite a batch of new rules designed to make the game more safe is still a brutal, violent game played by brutal, violent athletes.
At least on the football field.
The problem is when the violence and brutality take place off the field.
Ray Rice is a 27 year-old, multi-millionaire, star running back with the one year removed Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. He has built a career on being a “battering ram,” as one teammate admiringly calls him. One “tough dude to bring down” as one opposing defensive tackle said of him recently.
Rice stands 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds.
His wife (they married shortly after the domestic assault took place in February of this year) stands 5 foot 6 inches and weighs in at 115 pounds.
In February 2014, in the wee, small hours (as Frank Sinatra used to croon) Ray and his then-fiance, Janay Palmer (now Rice) were caught on camera in an Atlantic City casino hotel elevator engaged in a verbal argument. Ray then struck Janay across the face who then rushed towards her future-husband. He then struck her again, this time with a direct punch to her right side of her jaw. The blow left Janay unconscious. Rice can next be seen dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator and to the floor as he then checks his cell phone. (It is later confirmed he was texting for about 3-5 minutes while she was unconscious). Janay then regains consciousness.
Guests who saw the aftermath of the violent exchange contacted hotel security who then contacted NJ Police who arrested both Ray Rice and Janay Palmer on charges of domestic assault.
The charges against Palmer were later dropped. Rice was charged with Third Degree Assault, which he plead “Not Guilty” to despite this rather sobering and brutal video evidence.
The prosecuting attorney in this case agreed to a plea bargain with Rice which called for no jail time and a year probation.
So, after the formal justice system “roared” at Mr. Rice, the National Football Commissioner (NFL) Commissioner, Roger Goodell then had his say.
He meted out a 2 game suspension for Rice.
A “roar” followed by a “whisper.”
Today, Monday, September 8th, 2014, nearly 7 months after the altercation in the elevator, the NFL reversed its position as did the Baltimore Ravens who have been solidly in support of Rice throughout the incident.
The NFL and Mr. Goodell suspended Rice from further play indefinitely.
The Baltimore Ravens released him from the remainder of his 5 year, $40 million contract that he signed in 2012. The “$30 million punch” as one football executive commented).
So, now Ray Rice is out of football and he and his now-wife Janay, are left to pick up the pieces as parents of their 2 year old daughter, Rayven.
Did the NFL finally get it right? Did the Ravens?
Over the summer, teammates and coaches including, John Harbaugh were vehement about their support of Rice. “A great guy,” said teammate Ngati, “A man of character,” said Harbaugh, “A simple mistake,” said the owner.
Look, I get the “thin blue line” and “protecting one of your own,” but Ray Rice the husband and father brutally knocked his then fiancé out cold, dragged her across the floor and then busied himself texting as she lay unconscious.
Exactly what type of character is Coach Harbaugh referring to here?
So, what changed?
Well, the NFL and the Ravens both claim that only today (/8/2014) were they privy to a released security video that seems to clearly show what happened in the elevator as well outside the elevator. They claim that prior, they only were able to review a video that seemed to indicate an altercation between the two and Rice dragging Palmer across the floor.
Okay, so just how did the NFL, Mr. Goodell and the Ravens think Janay became unconscious? And when guests came forward and claimed they saw Rice hit Janay did these same folks not realize what happens when a 5’8″ 225 “battering ram” hits a female, non-battering ram, weighing in at 115, with anger?
Or, did they want to just hope this whole ugly incident would just “go away?”
Are you ready for some foot-ball?!
Many are now roundly criticizing the arguably, tepid NFL and even less tepid Raven’s initial response.
While some are still supporting Rice, asserting that, one, it’s their private business and two, Janay chose to not press charges and three, how bad could it be between them since they just got married?
Bad, very bad.
Let’s face it. Domestic violence knows no boundaries, is not limited to any particular race or culture and the bonds of “holy matrimony” certainly don’t restrain violence.
But maybe it’s not even that straightforward.
Maybe we just don’t “get” the Rice’s relationship.
Janay and Rice started dating when he was 18 and she was 16. Despite rumors of Rice’s infidelity and as he said, “his other baby-mothers” (reports surfaced on DeadSpin that Rice is the father of 3 other children from 3 other women) Janay posted a tweet affirming her commitment to Ray:
“I don’t care what any of you people have to say. You are just jealous. Don’t be mad just because I got him (Ray Rice) on lock.”
Janay also revealed that when she got arrested in 2010 on shoplifting charges it was Ray who stood by her.
Somewhere, Rhianna may be nodding her head that “yep, people just don’t get it” while she talks of former (still current love?) rapper and domestic assaulter, Chris Brown and their “complex relationship.”
OK. Let me see if I can simplify things a bit.
One in 4 women will experience domestic violence at some point in their life
1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate male partner every year
85% of domestic violence victims are female, most between the ages of 18-27
1/3 of all female homicides in the US are killed by a current or former intimate sexual partner
Domestic violence leads to 18.5 million visits to hospitals. including mental health care yearly
The cost associated with domestic violence is nearly $6 billion yearly
And here’s a sobering statistic that Janay and women everywhere may want to pay very close attention to: Nearly 60% of males who commit domestic violence against female adults also do the same to children in the same household.
Domestic violence knows no bounds, this fact seems worth repeating.
So, did the NFL and the Ravens finally do the right thing in this instance?
Maybe the more important question is; What happens next for the Rice Family off the football field?
For more information on domestic violence, please visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at http://www.ncadv.org
And be nice to each other.