The Ray Rice Suspension Is a Damn Joke. Plus, The NFL and Morality.

Featured, Sports and Bets — July 24, 2014 at 11:24 pm by

For a few minutes, pretend you aren’t a Ravens fan.  Better yet, pretend Ray Rice plays for the Steelers.  Or, even better, pretend that Janay Palmer is your sister or your daughter.

Would you still feel that his two game suspension was a fair one?

I doubt it.  In fact, my guess is that most Ravens’ fans and non-relatives of Janay Palmer think that this paltry punishment handed out by the NFL office of morality is absurd.  It’s such an obvious, punishment doesn’t fit the crime, slap on the wrist, that I literally laughed out loud when I read about the suspension on the Ravens’ website.  The suspension is a complete joke.   A joke that really isn’t funny.

Maybe Roger Goodell was impressed when he sat down with Rice.  Maybe he believes that when Ray (allegedly) knocked out his wife in a hotel elevator that it was an isolated incident.  Maybe he believes that Ray Rice and Janay Palmer are a couple that really is  in love and that they are better people now then they were before they entered that elevator of violence.  Maybe Goodell believes that Rice is supremely remorseful and maybe he thinks Rice was too intoxicated to know what he was doing that night.  And maybe all of these things are true….

But none of that should matter.

Those things shouldn’t matter because what we saw on that TMZ video was Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancé out of an elevator.   When I first saw the video I thought she was passed out from being drunk.  Maybe she had just had too much fun that night, a mother out for a night on the town who took it three or four drinks too far.  No harm in that.  But no, it was Rice who put her in that unconscious state. (allegedly.)  Rice, a 205 pound professional football player, had knocked out the mother of his child in an elevator after she had attacked him with some spitting and punching of her own.  (all allegedly, of course.)   Rice, evidently not having the power to control a woman who weighs at least seventy pounds less than he does, decided to give his woman a good old-fashioned knockout punch and end the elevator argument immediately.  And now, the aftermath of that alleged confrontation was all over the world wide web for folks to see.  It was ugly. The TMZ tape showed a hideous side of one of the NFL’s “good guys” and it was right there for all of us to feast on.  It was video evidence of a  “role model” gone wrong.  I thought Rice would be done for at least eight games.  But instead he got two.

And now, as a result of handing down their punishment, the NFL looks like its gone soft on domestic violence issues.  Now, that, “gone soft on domestic violence”, perception becomes the reality and any perceived interaction that Roger Goodell had with the Rice’s, no matter how positive, becomes null and void in the public’s eye.

 

And besides, two games is a light suspension for (allegedly) beating the snot out of a woman on video tape.

The suspension makes even less sense when you compare Rice’s suspension to other recent NFL suspensions.

Josh Gordon got a season for smoking dope.

Ritchie Incognito was suspended indefinitely (Lifted after three months) and essentially kicked off of a team for “bullying” a grown, 300-pound man with tweets and text messages.

Plaxico Burress got four games for accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a night club.

Terrelle Pryor got five games for getting some free shit while at Ohio State.

Cedric Benson got three games for misdemeanor assault.

Ben Roethlisberger got four games for alleged rape.

Michael Vick ended up with two games for his involvement in a dog fighting ring.

Vincent Jackson got three games for getting two DUIs in a three year period.

So, according to the moral entity that is the NFL, it is far worse to receive free gifts while under  scholarship than it is to knock out the mother of your child. It is also worse to smoke a joint than it is to be accused of rape a few times.  It is also worse to shoot yourself in the leg than it is to kill a bunch of dogs for gambling purposes.

By handing out theses suspensions, the NFL has made themselves the joke.

Goodell’s actions and suspensions levied against players for their behavior are sending a lot of bad messages to the NFL’s fans while Roger plays moral police.

In the least, Goodell looks foolish and inconsistent.

At worst, they are sending a silent message that violence against women is acceptable.

The NFL has looked stupid while playing the morality card over the last few years.  The list of suspensions above is a shit sundae and the Rice suspension is just the cherry on top.  No person in their right mind could possibly think that the crimes and punishments above are properly correlated.  If the NFL is going to play moral police, they need to do it properly, or they shouldn’t be doing it at all. The public perception is that the NFL is going soft against violent crime, especially violent crime against women.  And these days, perception is reality.  The NFL should know that better than anyone.

The Ravens aren’t squeaky clean in all of this either.  The Ray and Janay press conference after the incident occurred was a disaster.  Janay shouldn’t have been there, she’s not an employee of the Ravens, and she sure as hell shouldn’t have apologized.  Should she have attacked Rice?  Definitely not, but after being knocked out and dragged out of an elevator, she shouldn’t have been apologizing to the public for the incident either.  I can’t imagine how she must have felt in the weeks following the incident after being knocked out and dragged around by her fiancé.  To have to sit in front of the press and relive it probably wasn’t the best feeling either. The Ravens should have fucking better, known better. By apologizing, she unknowingly and silently justified Ray’ actions.  The Ravens shouldn’t have put her in that position and now they are an accomplice in that silent justification.  And Rice’s apology wasn’t an epic one either.  Ray’s whole speech felt scripted and P.R. generated.  The Ravens shouldn’t have “sponsored” that apology.  It felt transparent and ridiculous.

 

But the Ravens and their brass didn’t stop there, even after holding and botching the Rice press conference.  After the ruling came down today, the Ravens felt obligated to try and direct moral traffic again.  Coach Harbaugh was asked about Rice and the suspension by reporters.  At some point, he said this:

“He makes a mistake, alright.  He’s gonna have to pay a consequence.  It’s good for kids to understand that it works that way, and that’s how it works.  That’s how it should be.”

Two games and no jail time for beating the shit out of his lady. (allegedly.) What dire consequences, coach.

Do me a favor John, shut the fuck up and leave my kid out of this.  Just stick to coaching my city’s football team and I’ll worry about my kid and teaching him about actions and consequences.  In fact coach, I think it’s become obvious that kids should be taught not to look at athletes as role models.  We as the public don’t really know these players, we only see the side they want us to see, at least until they are caught on camera doing something violent and stupid.

From all these suspensions, press conferences, and comments, it’s pretty obvious that the NFL and the Ravens are not doing well in the morality business.  Maybe they should just stick to football and let the courts handle the legal and moral stuff.

In the meantime, I think we all wish the best for Ray and Janay Rice.  I hope this was an isolated and alcohol fueled moment that is atypical of their life together. I hope Ray never lays a finger in anger on Janay again.  I hope they use this hideous incident as a learning tool and I hope that they live a happy and loving life together.  I hope Ray Rice really is a “great guy”, who made an awful and drunken mistake that he never makes again.

I also hope that they teach their daughter that the NFL and its athletes shouldn’t be looked upon as role models, because the NFL and their athletes don’t deserve that title or responsibility.

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. Why should our children look at any athlete as a role model??? That’s probably more stupid than the suspension! Athlete’s are there to entertain not be a role model. All this talk flabbergasts me! Even did we as a culture stop pointing our children in the way of their parents and family members, or teachers, or our churches? Grow up! We don’t really know what happened in that elevator…and if you’re going to assault someone/anyone you should be expecting to have the same back to you. She is obnoxiously no Angel in this either…But her charges were written off because the courts wanted to make a statement. They wanted the publicity too! Get on with it…most these guys are boys taken from the hood that can run quick, throw well, and catch well. Half these men only made it through school to make the NFL money. They learned how to run quick from running from the cops, throw well because they had nothing else to do them throw a ball or throw a stash… Ray is just another person who got caught on camera bring the same type of man in our court’s everyday. Any other man off the street for his first offense would’ve got a pbj!!

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