Ravens Release Ray Rice for Punching his Girlfriend. Too Harsh?


September 8, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013

Ray Rice arms

Ray Rice on the field.

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.

ray-rice tats

The man they call the “battering ram.”

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.

Ray Rice wife JP

Ray’s wife and domestic violence victim, Janay Palmer

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.”

Ray Rice Commish

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who today says “We got it wrong the first time.”

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.

ray rice coach

Coach of the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh who steadfastly supported Ray Rice since the incident.

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.

Ray Rice with JP

Ray Rice and wife Janay Palmer in better times.

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.











61 thoughts on “Ravens Release Ray Rice for Punching his Girlfriend. Too Harsh?

  1. jatvsu says:

    Too nice? I’d say so. Granted, I haven’t been following this story (other than what people are saying on the book of faces), yet it seems to me that the NFL–I’ll pick on them for a minute–has increasingly allowed more of their players to get away with whatever criminal activity suits their fancy. Does this role model for kids have any sanctions against him from the league? I don’t know, like, maybe a PSA on domestic violence? It blows my mind how low-life pieces of garbage like him or the illustrious Vick can still be lauded as great people when they do such monstrous things. Should we judge them for their actions off the field? Absofreakinglutely. If we’re going to herald them as great athletes, then we should also hold them up to standards in their personal lives. They live in the public eye, and when they do bad things without recourse then they send a very loud and very disturbing message to those who admire them: go ahead and do whatever because you’re above anything too bad. Sure, he was slapped with a charge. So was Vick–and he had some jail time, too. Yet Vick is back on the field. What’re the odds going for how long it’ll be before someone else picks him up? Bless his heart that he had to forfeit his $30mil. He’ll get more. And at what cost? Meanwhile, his wife…bless her heart…she can’t take her fortune with her to the grave. Or get her daughter’s innocence back when she becomes the victim too. Love doesn’t use fists or create other babymamas. And maybe, just maybe, we can hope that this situation provides people with an avenue to have those conversations with their daughters and sons so that they know this is not love. I’ve lived by 2 rules in dating (and marriage): raise a hand to me or run around on me and I’ll leave you…regardless of what’s invested in the relationship. And I’ll nail your tail to the wall in the process. Someone should’ve had that conversation with Rice’s wife.

    • vtshipman says:

      I certainly can understand your perspective on this issue. Unfortunately there are just plain mean people in this world who prey on those they can control. Control can come in the form of words or actions or both. Humans are imperfect creatures who make decisions for what are often unknown reasons. Can we use this terrible situation for good? I think so but helping people of all ages understand that violence against someone you count as a significant other is WRONG. People have changed after going to prison. However many don’t and that is an unfortunate by-product of our penal system.

  2. Pat B. says:

    The statistics on domestic violence only touch the surface of the damage done. I married young (19) to a guy I had dated for two years. He had never shown any indication of violence – until the night we got married when he beat me to a pulp. Why did I stay? Because I had no clue what to do, how to get out, even – as odd as this seems now – that these things happened. I was so ashamed that I tried to cover it up, hiding bruises, avoiding family and friends – becoming more and more isolated which only increased the opportunities for the abuse. So beaten down that I actually believed that I did something (or didn’t do something that I should have) that made him react this way.

    Eight years and two children later I finally walked away – but only then because he had threatened to kill the children in order to hurt me. I was an intelligent, attractive, capable woman who had become a punching bag for someone who used threats of taking my children away from me to keep me in my place. He had the money, the power, and the physical strength on his side. I had only my word that he was hurting me – until he hurt me badly enough that I had to be hospitalized.

    The kids paid an awful price – years of therapy to recover from nightmare and be able to build their own relationships. Loss of a relationship with a father they hated because of what he had put them through and feared because of his strength.

    Until you have walked in those shoes, please don’t judge his wife. None of us know why she stays, what emotional holds he has on her, what threats he may or may not have made to her.

    Did the NFL do the right thing? To me, what the league should or shouldn’t have done isn’t the question. To me the question is why did our criminal/judicial system let him get away with this? Restraining orders do nothing but make men like this angrier, give them another excuse for their behavior. And you are right, the important thing now is who is going to protect her when he goes after her for costing him his job? Because you can bet he isn’t going to accept the blame himself – the fault will be hers.

    • Pat-Thanks so much for sharing such heartfelt words and your experience. You survived and even thrived. My Gosh, what incredible strength and courage. And you are right, victimizers never seem to blame themselves. My prayers are that their family moves forward now in peace, whether together or separate.

    • Rebecca L says:

      Pat, you are the voice of the expert here. The rest of us are just spectators. Having rescued my sister from a similar experience, I’ve been a little closer to the fire than others, but not in it as you have. I can’t agree with you strongly enough on the point about not judging his wife or looking to her for guidance regarding what is and isn’t tolerable. My experience with my sister, and I think you would agree, is that her program was rewritten by the violence. Only after she was removed from the situation and underwent a complete system reboot through time and therapy could the violence be seen for what it was. Until Mrs. Rice experiences that, to continue with the computer analogy, she is operating a faulty computer code.

      Mr. Rice’s attitude is the stinger for me. The complete disregard for her welfare after she was rendered unconscious shows that this wasn’t just some accident, that it wasn’t a one-time thing. This dude was completely unfazed. Monster.

    • vtshipman says:

      Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts. Some people simply have control over other people by their words and/or actions. I pray that anyone who is being abused steps forward because there are a lot of people who want to help. Everyone should support their local domestic abuse shelter and help say no to this terrible situation.

    • pycarter says:

      You are the perfect person to give the greatest weight in the opinion of everyone’s judgment of the abusive wife and why is she standing by this man. Thanks for your great courage to share a part of your history of an abusive wife and mother to give a voice that’s seldom heard but the most talked about as if she caused the abuse.

  3. Hard to argue with you here. Well put.

  4. Belinda H says:

    There are no winners in this case. Rice is a gifted, strong, egotistical, narcissistic, athlete who probably grew up his whole life using his fists to settle “arguments.” He gets paid (or did) tons of money to be violent and brutal as Dr. R points out. Tough for him to turn that off. Janaya who is now defending him also probably knows all too well this side of him as Rebecca points out BUT she also chose to date him, have a baby with him and even marry him like 2 weeks after he beat her up. I don’t get that either! I watched NBA wives on TV a few times and I can’t keep thinking about what one said after she caught her guy cheating on her…”He better show me the money” she said as the other wives hooted and said “Yeah, Go girlfriend.” I wonder, could Janaya be thinking about all the money she came in to when as Dr. r reported she got RR “on lock?” Maybe Janaya is taking lessons from Kobe’ Bryant’s wife after he was cheating on her and accused of sexual assaulting some hotel worker, she got a diamond “rock” about a week later!

  5. Bryan K says:

    I say it’s a private matter. the law settled up with Ray Rice and Janaya and him want to stick together. So, why should anyone else get involved now? I doubt it’s the first time he slugged her, and she is defending him so it’s her choice, no? Give it a few weeks, things will settle down, and a team will need a talented battering ram as Dr. R says, and then boom, he’ll be back being well-paid and playing. besides isn’t it better for him to be hitting dudes on the field than his wife off?

  6. Chad V says:

    I remember a few years back when Mike Tyson was on trial his team said hey white folks just don’t get the black culture that brutal athletes like Mike live in. They said that in his culture men talk differently to women and if they have to show who is in charge so be it, even with their fists, women know what this world is or they’d better and they get well paid to be around dudes like Mike or top athletes like a Ray Rice or Kobe. personally, I agree with Dr. Rabidoux that domestic violence knows no bounds or respects race but when you see the type of women that hang around top athletes and rap stars they must know that these dudes can and will be violent but seems they are more than willing to pay the price for fame and money. from what I see these women target these dudes and become “baby-mothers” and then they know they’ll be set financially for life. Even Stephen A. Smith said that the blame in these type cases is shared somewhat.

    • Niku L says:

      I think to imply that domestic violence has cultural limitations is very short-minded on the part of Mike’s team, just like it is short minded for someone to say that domestic violence is limited by gender. Yes, abusers come from all different cultures, race, gender, etc. I think that there are more dominant factors like personality, perception of self and others, background, upbringing, etc. Also, while I agree that some women do get with these rich celebrities for their fortune, many victims like Janay have known their significant others long before they had two pennies to rub together. Yes, financial security is a typical reason why victims of domestic violence stay. But, there are also deep, underlying psychological issues that influence these women’s decision to stay. Furthermore, I think that is stereotypical to say that the women who hang around athletes and rap stars must know that they can and will be violent. It is highly possible that some of these women come from good families and are intelligent and do not fit the “helpless baby mama” image that society tends to attach to them. Also, country music stars and golf players can be just as violent as a rap star or football player. Basically, it is not profession or culture that determine’s someone’s level of violence. It is an individual thing.

  7. Tammy L says:

    I can’t believe or maybe I can that Fox news joked about this today and all laughed when one of them said they should just take the stairs and not the elevator next time. Yeah, that would have solved everything. What idiots.

  8. vtshipman says:

    Because I wasn’t in the elevator I can’t say what happened. But from the recent video showing the assault, I am glad this ‘man’ was fired from the football team and suspended by the NFL Commissioner. What I do want to know is who saw the video inside the elevator and when did it occur? The Commissioner ‘punished’ this thug by suspending him for only 2 games after seeing her dragged out of the elevator. Of course he has changed his policy and indicates a person will be suspended a minimum of 6 games for the first offense.

    I say that there should be no room for violence against a woman unless she is about to cause you to fear for your life. But in this case this animal used his power to knockout a woman who he had slapped for spitting in his face (probably for a good reason).

    Let’s make sure both men and women understand that domestic violence is wrong. Period.

  9. Jacki G says:

    Someone else made a point about not caring about the NFLs consequences, and that is so true. Regardless of whether or not the NFL did the right thing (to give them credit, this is a step in the right direction), it is more sickening to think about why he didnt receive a real punishment from the courts. When these stories are published, they serve as poor examples for other adults and young adults engaging in domestic violence. On one level it encourages and justifies it (if the cool celebrity is doing it, then maybe its not so crazy), but it also shows that it is possible to get away with it. It doesnt matter if his then-girlfriend didnt want to press charges. These acts of violence have bigger implications for society.

    If he did spend some time in jail, regardless of what the girlfriend wanted, it may have given her time to think and clear her head. She probably knew that if she were to press charges that he would commit worse violence against her the next time. Maybe she was hoping someone else would provide consequences, but wasnt strong enough to openly defy him?

    I also think that no one should be too hard on Ray’s wife. From the article I gathered they had a child before this incident occurred. Good parents, in my opinion, regardless of what they really and truly think about their child’s other parent, do not want their child feeling inadequate or judged by the actions of their parents. In other words, maybe his wife stayed because of their child. Maybe she was afraid money and fame could win her in a court battle. Maybe she was simply afraid of him hurting both of them. There are so many psychological factors at play with domestic violence that it is never right to judge one for staying.

  10. Melinda G says:

    I saw some tweets that Janay supposedly tweeted some months ago. In one she says how she didn’t care what RR did to her or how many other women he ran with “cuz I got mine” and “I got the goods no matter what.” Not exactly sure what it means but I’m guessing it has to do with what abuse including him cheating on her (one was about some other woman he has a baby with) she’ll put up with and why she’ll stay ($$$). I thought what a golddigger…but then I saw a FB pic of a 20 year old cheerleader type girl showing off her big diamond ring and saying “I got the rock, the rest of you b*****s just got a piece of my man.” Sweet. Too many of my fellow females put up with way too much crud just to get the rock or the cash or both. No thanks.

  11. Felicia H says:

    And now it looks like, as Dr. R thought, that the NFL knew about the video and wanted to sweep it under the rug. Shame on the NFL. But maybe as Janay tweets it is a private matter and not our business. I shared with a black female friend of mine and she said that black women are raised to be able to take a few punches now and again to keep their man. And that competition for men is fierce so you need to pay a price. Ugh. Not me.

    • Niku L says:

      Felicia, you should tell your friend that she should speak for herself and readjust her perception of the matter. I am a black woman and I was raised to hold myself to the highest standard and to not allow anyone to abuse or take advantage of me. And a lot of my black female friends would say the same. I reiterate that it is a matter of perception and self-worth and is not accepted as a racial or cultural thing.

  12. Courthey T says:

    I have a friend who says that women need to be ready to take some hurt to get the “gold” especially if they target black athletes. That’s just the way it is she says. But she says it is worth it in the end as many of these dudes will run with lots of women and make lots of babies and pay lots of money. So she says it’s no big deal. And that media is making it a big deal. The typical black female will be more than willing to take a few punches or kicks to get $$$ for life. Is this really our culture now?

    • Niku L says:

      I am really taken back by the statement about the typical black female. It is belittling the self-worth and dignity of black women. Where are the facts to support this assertion?

      • Blaine G says:

        Niku-maybe you are not part of a lot of mainstream black culture in America, but, I’ve seen this sort of “whatever, at least I got my man” attitude from many, many women and it seems most are women of color. This seems especially true when they are with high profile, big bucks athletes who are often but not always men of color. So, maybe you need to show evidence that this is not the case because it sure seems like it when you even scratch the surface a bit in our society.

      • Courtney says:

        I don’t need evidence, I live it and see it daily. It is becoming just part of the price you pay to get your man.

    • Niku L says:

      Couthey, you said the TYPICAL black woman. Do you not realize how much of a generalization that is? The small percentage of black women you encounter or see or hear about who are like this is not a representation of the “typical black woman”. Not all of us do or would let a man use us as a punching bag for a check. That’s like me saying I see I horrible Asian female drivers every day so the typical Asian female is a horrible driver. It is solely stereotypical and people shape their perceptions based on those same stereotypes or personal encounters and think it is justified. I really have nothing else to say about that.

      Blaine, if you read my post carefully, I never said that there aren’t black women who fit into that category. I said that they are not a representation of black women in general. There is actually a stereotype that black men prefer white women over black women because white women are more complacent and put up with their nonsense while black women, regardless of the man’s financial status, are too strong minded to tolerate foul behavior and will put up a fight. While stereotypes might be true for some that does NOT mean it is a representation of the norm.

      I suggest that you all venture out and will find that there is an incredible amount of intelligent, strong, capable, independent black women who respect themselves and value their self worth enough to walk away after the first slap.

      • Good points Niku-like I said in the blog, domestic violence neither knows nor respects any boundaries. Sadly, people of all cultures and socio-economic status are and stay in abusive relationships for lots of reasons.

      • Niku, Courtney, Blaine, everyone…According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, African-American women aged 18-24 are the most likely demographic to be a victim of domestic violence, including sexual assault and rape and upwards of 45% of such incidents are likely or have been with former or current intimate sexual partners. Alarmingly, among the African American community, there is likely to be the lowest rates of reporting to the police of being a victim for reasons including fear of being attacked again and distrust/frustration with the law enforcement/authorities.
        None of which implies or states that women of any or no color are overall “fine with” or accepting of such abuse.

  13. Shania Y says:

    I am a black female and no way any man is gonna hit me and get away with it. I do know girls, black and white who do put up with that and fear for their life if they were to do anything but not me.

  14. Jalesa W. says:

    I was hoping you would talk about this topic! 😉 This entire topic raises many questions. How did TMZ have the entire video and the NFL did not? Has he been beating on Janay? Will he do it again? I could on for days. My thoughts:

    I do not agree with a man knocking out a women. No one should condone this issue…unless it’s self defense. Face it, women are brutal at times. There is a reason the show “Snapped” was created. I feel bad for Janay, because I know she was extremely embarrassed when the entire video leaked. Even though they are married and she is sticking by his side, I believe he has hit her numerous times before this one. Also, what makes us think he will not continue to beat her. Especially since his entire NFL career is done. Now on to the NFL. How does an organization with so much power, not conduct an ENTIRE investigation on this incident? I believe the NFL tried to cover up a little of this story, until TMZ released the entire video. One article I read, the NFL stated that they did not have the full video, however, some anonymous source said they had it since April. There are way too many holes in this story.

  15. Khari L says:

    The National Football League originally suspended Ray Rice for two games, after reviewing the tape they suddenly change their stand on their domestic violence clause. Ray Rice should have been suspended put if he is out of the NFL for life than that is wrong. The NFL claims that they have not seen the full length video until it reached the news; I personally do not believe that what so ever. Despite what his wife did in the elevator, Ray Rice is wrong for hitting her. Roger Goodell has made countless mistakes in the NFL’s discipline over the players. There are athletes every year getting involved with prostitution, disorderly conduct, gun related issues, and DUI’s. They later return to the league the following year and received their original contract. Whether the punishment fit the crime Goodell fumble the ball retracting his two game suspension. Rice pleaded not guilty and it was the first time he has ever gotten in trouble. His wife ended up marring him anyways so now you are taking way his finances and his ability to support his wife. They both have a two year old son that they both need to raise as well so the fact that the Baltimore Ravens bailed on him kind of bothers me. The loyalty is not the NFL for player safety and assisting them when the need help with issues. Ray Rice should be getting a second chance one the year is over. In the meantime, the NFL needs to get with the NFLPA and review the collective bargaining agreement.

    • My good friend who is a female advocate against domestic violence tells me that if we think this is/was and will be the first and only time Rice struck his girlfriend, now wife, Janay, we don’t understand the nature of domestic violence and those who engage in it. It was perhaps, the first time he got caught. It is also now out that Adrian Peterson disciplined another son last year in the same way he did to his 4 year old son recently. As I understand it, these acts are patterns not spur of the moment only.

      • Khari L says:

        I am curious to see the patterns because they have yet to show any with all the news press. As a former professional athlete I would hate to be labeled something after it happens the first time. That is honestly not far to society at all. The NFL will do anything to protect their image.

  16. David B says:

    As a few people have pointed out, I think the judicial system has failed terribly in this case. People are tearing apart the NFL over this while giving the DA a free pass. A year of probation is a far less severe punishment than the two game suspension the NFL originally slapped on him. Of course the NFL got it wrong to begin with. Do we really expect anything less given their recent track record? With the Rice fiasco, the challenging of failed drug test results by Wes Welker and others, and the Adrian Peterson child abuse allegations, this has to be the worst PR month in the history of the NFL. Yes, they have brought much of it on themselves by their lack of consistency and weak policies. However, why is it that all of the responsibility to make an example out of Rice falls on the NFL’s shoulders? The judicial system, which is designed to protect our citizens AND also had access to the video inside the elevator, gave Ray Rice a slap on the wrist then shooed him away to go score some touchdowns. Perhaps the prosecuting attorney had Rice as a keeper in his fantasy football league. Meanwhile, the NFL, that has already proved it’s incompetency handling issues like this, is being destroyed by the public for not handling it well. Regardless of whether or not they actually saw the video, they would have been forced to come down harder on Rice had the judicial system made a stronger stand. The NFL was not created with the purpose being a public representation of our nations morals and ideals through the standards they put into place for their players. It was created to entertain people. As much as they would like to believe they have policies in place to ensure their players represent the league well and set a good example for the American people, they have proven that they are just not very good at figuring out appropriate punishments. The judicial system, on the other hand, was created for the sole purpose of punishing wrongdoings. Why then are people not jumping on them as well? Rice’s behavior that night in the casino is disgusting and people should demand justice. However, we are giving much more power to the NFL, an organization designed to entertain people, than our own judicial system, a branch of the government that is designed to protect the public.

    • David-really thoughtful post! I would argue that the NFL though was created not as any keeper of our collective morality but as a business venture. A way to allow for legal sports competition while generating large sums of cash for its owners. It has of course been developed as a multi-billion dollar industry and should, rightfully, now be concerned with being out of step with societal norms because that will possibly affect its bottom-line. Money not morality.

      • David B says:

        Right, the NFL definitely does have to be concerned with losing money over over issues like this because it is all about the money. However, it is interesting that many people barely blinked an eye over the fact that Rice was let off very easily by the prosecuting attorney. I’m sure the anger toward the NFL is in large part due to the negative reputation they have built recently, but it is somewhat telling of our society that people do not seem nearly as angry that he was let off the hook by the courts. It is as if it has become so common of an occurrence in our society that there was no real reaction to the plea deal or a call for harsher legal punishment. The lack of reaction about that aspect of this story by many people (through media, social media, etc.) suggests that perhaps people have come to expect and/or accept that type of punishment for that type of crime. Wouldn’t the energy spent by many bashing the NFL and demanding Roger Goodell be fired be better spent examining how our court system handles these types of cases so that when this happens to women who don’t happen to be married to an NFL running back, the court comes down harder on the men responsible? Wouldn’t promoting more awareness on the issue and calling for harsher punishments in the court system deter this from happening in our society more effectively than demanding the commissioner of sports league to be fired? Sports writer Clay Travis makes an interesting comparison in a blog I read recently when he says that people wouldn’t blame the CEO of McDonald’s if one of its employees committed a terrible crime, so why is so much attention being placed on Roger Goodell? I think that Roger Goodell and the NFL have done a lot of things wrong over the years and and should be held accountable to an extent as well. However, it just seems like some of the anger and rage is misdirected and could be better channeled toward examining how the issue of domestic violence is handled in our society, not just in sports.

      • David-yes, sure is a sad commentary when we shrug off the judicial failings and look to the NFL to right the wrongs of society…

    • Niku L says:

      Good points. While I think the responsibility of punishing Rice should be shared by both the NFL and the Judicial System, I was more disappointed by the court’s response. I hold the court to a higher regard and expectations when it comes to punishing criminal behavior, as I should. I expected that the NFL would punish Rice (punishment of any severity because I did not expect much) but I expected the Judicial System to do more than just a year of probation…or did I? Disappointed yes, surprised? sadly, no.

  17. Car-ra B says:

    While I personally don’t consider the game of football as brutal or violent, I do believe that Ray Rice’s was brutal and violent in his actions toward his fiancé, now wife. The video of the incident that was released is disturbing and the non-action by the legal system and delayed action by the NFL is unsettling. I do not think Ray Rice should be allowed to play in the NFL or any other professional sport or league. He should be in jail, but our legal system failed in the plea bargain agreement, and the NFL acted extremely naïve with their initial two game suspension. Players get more suspension time for illegal drug use and cheating. I guess domestic violence was not on the NFL radar of highly punishable offenses. Ray Rice showed a complete disregard in punching his fiancé, and in how he left her laying on the floor unconscious. The NFL must now take a better stance on domestic violence because there are two additional domestic violence incidents they have to address, including a player convicted of domestic violence. Allowing this actions to go unpunished is beyond criminal and is a complete injustice. The statistics are extremely alarming. More must be done to help the victims of domestic violence.

    Food for thought:

    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond TuTu

  18. Heather W. says:

    I am sorry to hear that Mrs Rice was physically abused by her husband. It is unfortunate that this world can desensitize such an event that it becomes a matter of money and franchises. Janay’s reasoning in staying with her assaulter included that other women would be jealous because he is now “on lock”. I feel sorry for those like Mrs.Rice who do not recognize the greater that is available to them because they are either blinded by dollar signs or competitive for status in this dying world. My hat goes off the newly married couple. I can only pray that their two-year-old does not suffer as a result of this union.

  19. Sharriette Finley says:

    Ray and Janay Rice both need help. They strike me as two young, foolish people who need to learn a better way. I believe that such behavior, on both parts, is a reflection of their youth home life. I pray that they both seek the help they need, for themselves and for any children involved.

    I believe that if the initial suspension had been for two months, instead of two weeks, Ray Rice would still have his job. Also, if he were in his early 20s, instead of his late 20s, the NFL would have found a way around this indefinite suspension. Since others seem to be culpable, I have a feeling that he will be back. I cannot really say if that is right or fair. I do hope that counseling for him and his wife are mandated as a part of his return.

    I love football and am familiar with a few stories. Since Ben Roethlisberger still has his job, a second chance for Ray Rice should not be such a stretch.

  20. Brandi S says:

    I think that the whole thing is a total mess on both sides of the field. First he shouldn’t have did his wife like that period. let alone in an elevator with cameras.duh…….. After seeing the tape and how he was dragging her and telling her to get up tells me that he has done it before. As far as him playing football lots of men hit their wives not just athletes. I’m not saying that it is right because its not but I do not think he should be dismissed from his job because of it. I know it may look bad for the team because his incident was publicized but he is no different from any other man that hits their wife but they do not lose their job. As far as the team the owner knew what happened and had already saw the tape and now since everyone knows now he wants to act like he had no knowledge of the incident. At the end of the day she married him after this so what that tell you. She forgave him so let the man play. It is old news to them.

    • LaShana V says:

      Brandi-I get your points but lots of other men wind up in jail for beating their wives or girlfriends senseless…Rice got off easy cuz he’s a football player, is that right? And lots of women stay with men who beat them because they are scared or have low self-esteem or don’t think it will happen again…and it always does.

  21. Massi M says:

    I believe the NFL got it wrong again. The first punishment was too lenient because it minimize the seriousness of domestic abuse and projected the wrong message about how the league should hold their players accountable for their actions and how they represent the league. Ray Rice should have suspended for his actions for 6-8 games, which represents a substantial financial penalty and opportunity for future gains. The league could have used this opportunity to work with professional to better education the public and themselves. However, the league has a history sweeping incidents under the rug and hoping nothing comes of them, but just mother always said “Everything done in the dark comes out in the light.” Now, Ray Rice and his wife, are the poster children for domestic violence. When this story is all said and done, Ray Rice will either play football again or receive a huge sentiment for the double jeopardy style treatment he receive from the league and yes the Rice family deserve it. People forget about the wife and children involved in this incident that has become a watch hunt. I hope the focus returns to domestic assault awareness, education, and prosecution soon.

    • Savanah G says:

      Massi-What??The Rice family deserves a big, fat settlement? (btw, not sentiment like what you wrote).And Double Jeopardy is a guarantee in the 5th Amendment for prosecution of the same offense twice. Ray Rice got a punishment from the NFL not in a court of law, but we’ll see. But let’s not make his wife and child a victim of the media’s actions or our responses. Rice is the thug to blame and hard to believe this was the first time he beat and abused his wife. The focus? Put it right on him and yes, let’s hope domestic violence gets more attention as a result but please, this is not a witch hunt (btw not watch hunt as you put)…it’s clear who the “witch” is and his name is Ray Rice.

  22. Niku L says:

    The NFL was just trying to save face and save their investment. Shame on them for trying to sweep the incident under the rug. They could have conducted a full investigation if they really wanted to with the assistance of law enforcement. That video is extremely disturbing. It reminds me of a Lifetime movie. The way Rice knocks Janay out cold and drags her lifeless body out the elevator doors while witnesses look on. He showed absolutely no remorse or concern for the mother of his child as she laid on the floor unconscious like a rag doll. At least he had the decency to cover her up when she was exposed. Animal. Oh yes, he definitely did this before. That is very abnormal behavior and he deserves to be thrown in jail.

    I would just like to make two more points after reading the responses on this post: As Dr. Rabidoux stated, they have known each other since they were teenagers when Rice most likely did not have 1/8 of the money he has now. So this discredits some of the viewpoints on here that Janay probably accepts this behavior mostly because of the money. Like I stated in another post, there are more compelling factors here. They have history together, a child, she is insecure, she is most likely afraid of him, for instance. Also, Janay’s decision to stay is not a representation of black woman morale or black culture as a whole. Research needs to be conducted to support some of these far-reaching assertions.

  23. Erich C says:

    I think who is getting off easy here is the NFL The NFL helped create this monster but takes no responsibility for what happened. Pump a young male full of performance enhancing drugs and reward violence at his job and see what happens. I know the NFL drug tests but it is not very comprehensive; they just started testing for HGH last week.The reason for the ban is to keep the spotlight off the real problem and blame the ones that the NFL are destroying.

    I do not have a problem with Ray Rice being indefinitely suspended, but there is a better solution that would be better for all. The NFL should pay Ray Rice half the remainder of his contract and donate the other half to charity for battered women. Ray Rice should have to go through therapy and then work for a charity for the next 20 years if he wanted to get the remainder of his contract. His wife and child should be guaranteed at least half of what Ray Brings in.

    Ray’s wife will still be able to live a comfortable life, she probably would not have been with Ray if he were bagging groceries at the supermarket. Charities would get funds from the NFL and service from Ray that would be followed in the press.

    As it sits now, the NFL loses nothing and Ray’s wife feels like she has been punched a second time by the NFL.

  24. Chris R says:

    To me the controversy around this scandal is that Ray Rice was not fired immediately and that there is controversy around the fact that he has not. The NFL has continually shot itself in the foot by failing to recognize that they are a brand and to an extent a very publicly funded brand. Because of this image is everything. Whether or not you agree with what Rice and his wife have done, it is players like these who are tarnishing the public image of the NFL even more than the company itself is accomplishing. If a high profile member of another company did this, they would be ejected from the company immediately. It send a message to both the public and other members of the company that this is not tolerated. While the NFL does not have to answer for everything every employee does, it does hold a certain accountability for addressing the scandals that their employees create if they choose to keep them employed. This includes theft, dog fighting, domestic abuse, and other illegal activities that their employees have committed. To say “We do not stand for this and unfortunately Mr. Rice is no longer with us,” would send a message to a WIDE audience on the legitimacy of Rice’s actions as well as allow up and coming players (college hopefuls) who hold themselves to a higher standard a chance at the NFL. Everyone wins (on the NFL/players stance, the NFL does have some other issues to address too) I admit I watch football pretty much every Sunday, but it is conflicting to know that I am getting enjoyment out of something that handles these things so poorly.

  25. Joshlyn D says:

    Hello to all,

    Hope all is well. When I first learned about this situation I was completely lost for words. When I heard the Janay still went through with the marriage, I was even more breathless. Everyone knows a man strikes once he will strike again! The altercation and or incident was not just a grabbing by the arms and shaking or a shove to push away; he brutally struck her twice to the head and face as if he were in the ring with Floyd Mayweather. It’s a sad case. Some who side with the couple and say things like “oh he didn’t mean it, they’re in love.” Love doesn’t hit and love sure as hell doesn’t knock you unconscious.

    I whole-heartedly back the decision of the NFL by permanently banning Ray Rice from the program. Honestly, that should have been the first decision from the start. You can’t just go around beating on women in public or behind closed doors and only get a suspension from two games? I mean seriously what does that say about the team, the coach, and the entire program? Is America’s most viewed and highly praised sport that important? If Rice were to be on the team at this very moment gearing up for the Super bowl, what would that say to all the little boys that’s currently on a little league team, to the middle schoolers gearing up for the big rivalry high school game, or the college players aspiring to one day be under the big lights of Arrowhead Stadium? It would send a message that citizens, activists, and lobbyist fight so hard to prevent.

    Domestic Violence is not acceptable in no way, shape, or form. Whether the victim is female or male the abuser should be punished. I pray for women who can’t find the strength to leave an attacker who they claim to love. I can’t believe she took vows with this animal. What will that teach and show her little one once she’s older? Will Janay then tell her daughter of age who gets married, “its okay baby, he didn’t mean it, he loves you, hang in there, he’s a professional football player.” I mean seriously the video and footage went viral. If Rayven hasn’t seen it yet, she will. What will she then think of her father and mother? The NFL should stand firm with it’s decision. Maybe now Ray Rice can go join MMA where it’s appropriate to knock unconscious another human being.

  26. Ashley G says:

    The video recording showed it all, nothing good came out of his actions. No matter how mad a man gets he should never hit a woman especially when she does not place her hands on him first. These actions to me showed his true colors and being that he is a role model and idealized but young children he should be ashamed of himself and his actions. There is no amount of stories one can say, athletes are always given a chance and kept on teams to make there living like everyone else. Whatever happens to him in the future I really hope he finds help.
    As for the woman I believe she needs help and she does not understand the true meaning of being loved. For a woman to accept the fact the her being hit on is okay is unacceptable on so man levels, that is a woman who is so stuck in her situation that she doesn’t see that she really needs help and should want to be in a better relationship where being hit by the person she loves is not acceptable.

  27. Luke E says:

    Personally, I think the NFL and the Ravens got it right. I can see the argument of it’s their business. However, at the end of the day there is video evidence of misconduct. I pray that the couple is seeking counseling. Especially Mr. Rice. The facts don’t lie. There is a substantial chance that similar violence could happen to the child. That stated love is a very powerful emotion, and can weather many storms and people can change. I hope for the sake of the Rice family this rings true. If this incident wasn’t caught on camera I doubt we would be having this needed discussion, we wouldn’t see any type of suspension. Family matters aside. NFL players represent the brand and the team. These players are also role models. Thus, I can appreciate the loyalty of Rice’s teammates and his wife. However, punishable acts should be punished. Youths should see players and professionals held accountable. So congratulations for the NFL and the Ravens for stepping up and showing that actions receive consequences. I also hope this incident improves and strengthens the Rice family and they work through this coming out as better people, and Rice coming out as a better man, husband, and father.

  28. pycarter says:

    The NFL made the right decision at the wrong time which had to help in Ray Rice’s win his appeal to remove his indefinite suspension from the NFL for his domestic violent brutality of his wife Janay. Goodell set out to make an example out of Ray Rice to right his wrong on his first bad penalty choice but had other NFL players who also committed domestic violent crimes who had not received any punishment from the league. Rice lawyer and publicist were quick to point that out like they all were not in an abusive violent crime category and one would be seen nicer than the other one. Most abusers appears to be nicer to others but verbally and physically explosive to their mates and yes Rice’s wife could be in fear for her life or she could be in fear to leave the rich life behind. But she stands boldly in the public and declares her loyalty and undying love for her husband and their family who has been working hard on their relationship through counseling. And Ray Rice says he’s been getting treatment for his abusive behavior as well whatever they presented before the NFL to get his suspension overturned it worked for them but what NFL team is willing to get themselves tainted by their domestic violent scandal.

  29. Kasey says:

    This behavior of Ray’s is a problem not only for Ray and Janay’s private lives as abusive behavior only gets worse not better but because Ray is a public figure his life is put on display for the public to view. Many women and men who are in a volatile situation with their significant other will look at the story of Janay and Ray. These individuals will try to find justification for staying with the violent person or continuing behavior that by society standards is morally wrong. It is a mental block that I do not understand but is what really happens. By looking at this story it might seem to the abuser that if the only “bad” thing that happened to Ray was a loss of contract and no other actions were taken than I can continue my abusive behavior. The one abused might take a look at this story and say that Janay was being loyal and proving her love to Ray by sticking with him through the “rough” times. I hope that Ray and Janay did have a wake-up call and seek professional help with Ray’s and Janay’s anger problems if not for the sake of themselves but for the sake of their child.

    I feel that the NFL made the right call in the end by releasing rice from his contract, even if it was a little too late. I feel that a message had to be sent to everyone not only big name celebrities, but the average Joe that domestic violence will not be tolerated. However, major support for Ray denies the fact that Ray still did something wrong and if they wanted to make a true statement to the public instead of just punishing Ray financially, as there will always be a team in the future that might accept him as a player or assistant couch, have Ray seek professional help. I am sure they could add that to the terms and conditions and send a positive message to the public. That says hey this man messed up in a really big way, we do not support his actions and we are taking measures to help this man be a better person for his family.

  30. Tochi M says:

    I do not think the NFL and the Ravens were too harsh in their decisions for the Ray Rice. No person should be able to get away with actions so cruel. I don’t know how you claim to love a person and still treat them so brutally and disrespectfully. Honestly, if I were the NFL and Ravens owner, I would have terminated Ray’s contract earlier than that. Think of how his actions against his fiance reflects poorly on the NFL and his team. As a player (agent) it is his duty to represent the NFL and his team (the principals in this case) properly. The duty of an agent is to act completely for the benefit of the principal. When Ray abused his fiance, he was not acting for the sole benefit of the NFL and his team. That, I feel is reason alone, for them to terminate his contract.
    People might however, argue that the sports business in the US as a whole has double standards in cases about domestic violence. For example with U.S women Soccer team goalie Hope Solo; The US team suspended her for only 30 days when she behaved “belligerent” towards the police. The team also looked a different way when Hope committed violent acts against her sister and niece/nephew(not sure).
    For the goalie’s case, I feel like the US team should have taken proper actions, because her actions reflected terribly on the team, and by looking the other way, the team made it seem like people on the team are not held accountable for their actions.
    For Ray rice, I believe appropriate actions were taken, although a bit delayed.

  31. Justin B says:

    i think that Ray Rice’s personal life should be separate from his NFL life. If Ray wasn’t a football star, then this news probably wouldn’t have made the news, let alone the paper where it happened. what he did was wrong, and he got charged for it, but i don’t think he should have been released from the team. Celebrities are being forced to live different lives because they are constantly being watched, and every little thing they do affects not only their personal life, but their social status as well. I say draw a fine line between the athletes personal life and their football life.

  32. Gentry C says:

    What Ray Rice did was wrong on many levels. He received a legal punishment for his actions and shouldn’t have been suspended indefinitely from the NFL. His personal life should be separated from his professional life. I think the NFL has the right to suspend him for a specific amount of time but not indefinitely. If he was just another normal person this would not have made national news like it did. People that are well known nationally and internationally are being forced to live different lives than normal every day people. I understand punishment in the workforce for personal behavior but there is a fine line between his NFL life and personal life and i think the NFL crossed it.

  33. Zach N says:

    I honestly feel like Ray Rice should be in jail right now. No woman deserves to be hit like that from a male. It is unfair and unjust. To live that great of a lifestyle and have everything you could possibly want…. what the hell is wrong with you? It’s like all of these professionals just don’t understand. Buy a nice house maybe a few cars and be happy with the fact that you made it. Why ruin such a great opportunity with drugs or abuse? Its so stupid and I feel like jail is the only thing that will give these athletes a wake up call.

  34. LMC says:

    I think the NFL plays an important role that they are still in the throws of defining themselves. When a federal court overthrew their ruling to indefinitely suspend Rice, was the NFL secretly happy to have one of their star players back? If all they care about is the bottom line (money), then having Rice back on the field is potentially a good move. As much as I personally “feel” for people who live their lives in the public spotlight (I can’t imagine it’s easy on any level), I still believe that organizations like the NFL, NBA, MTV, and even politicians, should hold their employees to a higher standard.

    Many of the companies I’ve worked for have HR policies related to arrests. For example, if you’re convicted of a certain degree of crime, you automatically lose your job. I don’t see why the NFL or any of these other big name organizations shouldn’t do the same, and perhaps even more so, because their employees are role models for so many.

  35. Brittney C says:

    The Ravens absolutely made the right choice by releasing Ray Rice; however, in my opinion, Janay made the wrong choice by marrying him. Abuse is not love and Janay is obviously blind to that fact. She seems to hold on to her “baby daddy,” now husband for the sake of not wanting someone else to get him. How many women would really want to be with him after seeing on national television what he is capable of doing? Janay’s perspective is definitely off, because she is overlooking the fact that she could still be unconscious from the blow. I also think she is sending the wrong message to her daughter. By choosing to stay with Ray she is letting her daughter know that it is ok for a man to knock you out like you are his enemy and remain by his side. Domestic violence is not okay whether it is verbal or physical. This type of behavior deserved a steep penalty, and he got exactly what he deserved. I hope many other organizations follow suit. Ray definitely should have lost his girlfriend and contract, because punching someone who you claim you love is not a mistake. Abusive behavior should not be acceptable by public figures on any level, because many teenagers look up to celebrities and will mock their behavior.

  36. Alisha Fox says:

    I really don’t understand this story/situation at all. I cannot speak from experience as I have never been in an abusive relationship. I just have so many questions: 1) Why would she stay? 2) Why defend him? 3) Why would the team defend him? 4) What type of person thinks that behavior is ok? I know some people are saying it is about the money but why would anyone go through that for money? I just don’t get any of it….

  37. Phil E. says:

    Too harsh? Absolutely not. I support worker’s protections in general, but these guys are protected by a pretty powerful union for that matter. But that union knows better than to try to shield its employees from employer action for something like this. The teams and the league are entitled to uphold a certain public image, and these guys are told what can happen up front if they do this kind of stuff.

    Don’t be a deplorable human being or you can lose your private sector job. How hard is that? Anybody who can’t meet that standard is going to have difficulty staying employed in any profession, and they should. They shouldn’t be above the law and above human decency.

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