Let me take you back seven months to February 15, 2014. The dust hadn’t even settled from the Seattle Seahawks dismantling of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII when we heard a disturbing story about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. He was being accused of knocking out his then fiancé, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City hotel and dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. A few days later, on February 19th, we were shown video evidence of Rice dragging Palmer from an elevator, but that was all. There was no footage of an assault.
A month later, on March 27th, he was indicted on aggravated assault charges. The following day Rice and Palmer were married. It wasn’t until August however when the NFL finally took action against him. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner with the iron fist, came down on Ray Rice with a 2 game suspension. The 2 game suspension, which is less than players who smoke marijuana receive, appeared to fans and players alike as nothing more than a slap on the wrist for a heinous crime.
Yesterday a video was released from the night of February 15th inside the elevator ridden by Rice and Plamer. The video shows Rice striking his fiancé with a closed fist, rendering her unconscious, and then dragging her body out of the elevator where a security guard approaches them. This video is evidence of something we already knew, Rice assaulted Palmer that evening. What the video doesn’t show us anything that wasn’t previously known about the situation. We already knew what happened in the elevator without ever having to see it. If the NFL didn’t already believe or know the truth, they never would have suspended him to begin with but because of this video, the Ravens and the NFL did what they should have done from the beginning. The Ravens released Rice. The league suspended him indefinitely.
The million dollar question is why did it take video evidence of something we already knew had taken place to get the proper results? I don’t understand why knowing what happened is not as bad as seeing it. A player who tests positive for any type of banned substance is suspended without any visual proof. They may have had a positive test in a lab, but without a picture or video of the banned substance being used how do we know the lab didn’t made a mistake? It’s assumed the tests are accurate and the player is suspended, even without visual evidence. The release and new suspension of Rice was done for one reason, for the league and team to try to save face for dropping the ball from the beginning. I completely agree with the disciplinary actions taken against him but these steps should have been taken months ago, not now.
I find it very difficult to believe how the tape was never viewed by anyone involved before it was shown to the public. I believe the NFL and the Ravens are playing dumb. They hoped the video would never be seen by the public and didn’t take proper action because, even though he seemed on the decline, Rice was a big name player in its big money league. I don’t like being lied to. I don’t enjoy being treated like a fool. Although the right thing was done by releasing and suspending him indefinitely, I have lost a lot of respect for both the NFL and Ravens over this situation. The league should fully refund any fan who purchased a Rice jersey in 2014 and the Ravens should give refunds to any ticket holder who wants one.
This situation has not just proved to be a black eye for Ray Rice, but also the league and franchise. I hope, just as the ice bucket challenge has brought such great awareness for ALS, this situation will bring awareness to another great cause, stopping abuse against women. His wife may forgive him for what he has done, but the league and its fans never will. As Chuck Noll used to say, it’s time for Ray Rice to get on with his life’s work. He should never play another snap in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean some good can’t come from this. He needs to become an outspoken advocate against violence towards women. A man should never lay hands on a woman, and if this isn’t a wakeup call that we need to address this as a major problem then I don’t know what is.

Posted in Pittsburgh Steelers