The NFL’s Latest Ray Rice Hypocrisy: “You Mean He Actually HIT Her When He Knocked Her Out?”

"At least Rice didn't kill anyb...wait, we kept that player who killed somebody, didn't we? Now what?"

“At least Rice didn’t kill anyb…wait, we kept that player who killed somebody, didn’t we? Now what?”

This is hilarious, tragic, idiotic or infuriating, I haven’t decided yet.

The NFL and the Baltimore Ravens, having made it absolutely clear that they really weren’t all that upset with the fact that star  Ravens running back Ray Rice cold-cocked his soon-to-be-wife in a hotel elevator (and since she dropped charges against him and married her assailant, she wasn’t all that upset about it either) because he received only a two game suspension from the league and no added penalties from his team, suddenly got really determined to make a statement against domestic abuse once the security camera video of the incident became public today.

Now that it has—they always knew the video existed—-the NFL has re-punished Rice, and the Ravens have released him.

Translation of the message this sends:

“OK, pundits, media, anti-domestic abuse advocates, public—is that enough? Because to be honest, we have no idea. This domestic abuse stuff is right over our heads, so just let us know. If not, we’ll find some pretext to punish Rice again, and again, until we get it right. Let’s see: the NFL can ban him for life, and Baltimore can declare that he can only appear in the city before 7 PM, never be able to use an elevator, and walk on his knees. How’s that?”

Are you fooled? Do you really think the video changed the NFL’s attitude about domestic abuse from what it was when this ugly episode first arose, that attitude being, “Meh”? And why wouldn’t that be the league’s take, and especially that of the Ravens, which let another Ray, linebacker Ray Lewis, finish his career with the team after he admitted his role in a murder?

Sports stars who engage in criminal behavior should be penalized heavily by their teams and leagues, to leave no question about their special status as paid heroes and pop culture role models and their obligations to honor that status. Rice’s conduct was especially significant, given the prevalence of domestic abuse in this country. The NFL, however, had its shot, made its statement, disgraced itself and let him get off easy. Rice hasn’t done anything since then worthy of punishment. The league and Rice’s team should have to live with their initial decisions, no matter how much criticism they received for them. The overly lenient punishment should stand as symbolizing how outrageously tolerant society, and especially male dominated cultures like pro football, are of this deadly conduct. Treating the video as if it constituted new evidence of something worse is unfair and ridiculous: yes, you morons, this is what domestic abuse looks like!

Ugly, isn’t it?


Facts: CNN

13 thoughts on “The NFL’s Latest Ray Rice Hypocrisy: “You Mean He Actually HIT Her When He Knocked Her Out?”

  1. It’s especially ugly when you deal with it from a law enforcement perspective. A common element of the aftermath tends to be the female turning around and standing by the side of the man who abused her. I’ve seen that, too. And I was the one who took the statement from her after the bum had been taken away! It never fails to baffle me.

    • Well… The answer to your bafflement is to think like she’s a whore, and just got paid. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an abuser, he should be prosecuted and jailed. But the message he’s sent is, “I’m big and rich, and I’m willing to share my lifestyle with you, all you need to do is look pretty, and be willing to take a hit from me every now and again when I become irrational, which could be anytime” to which she’s said “Ok! Which cheek?”

      Ok, it isn’t that blatant. But you think she married him for his winning personality? I’m sure I’ll take flak for this position at some time, especially from people who say I’m ‘victim blaming’, but I just can’t be asked to care. The first time he hit her, she was a victim, he was wrong, and she should have left him. She didn’t.

  2. Since I frequently criticize Carol Costello of CNN for her almost invariable wrong-headedness on a variety of topics, I feel obligated to note that I just watched her make exactly one of the same points this post intends to make: Why did the NFL have to see the actual punch to be properly incensed that one of their stars knocked a woman unconscious? Of course, that’s really not what’s going on. What’s really going on is that the NFL isn’t any more outraged as all—it just knows that the graphic evidence makes their rap on the wrist to Rice look as bad as it always was, so they are using it to justify a do-over, which is always unfair where official punishment is concerned and a matter has been closed, absent new evidence that changes the analysis of what happened. And the video isn’t such evidence unless you have no idea what causes a woman to be knocked out by a man. Given what the NFL does, it’s fair to assume that they understand the process better than that.

    • Didn’t you say something about signature significance (of the NFL) when the first non-consequences for Rice (two-game suspension) were handed out? (I apologize for asking; I can only appeal on the basis of having a bad memory and being a slow reader.)

    • Now let me slam CC again: when the fact that Rice’s wife didn’t press charges and married the guy was raised, CC indignantly insisted that criticism of Janay was unfair because “it’s complicated.” I’m adding this to the Rationalizations list…right now..

  3. Thanks Jack. You are spot-on, succinct and right. Sixty years ago, an organization that was involved in drugs, gambling, and violence was known as the Mafia. Now it is the NFL. It is a gargantuan, bloated, disreputable, but sadly entrenched part of our entertainment culture. The league, and its steroid addled employees, are not gong away anytime soon. So one must wonder then about the relationship and influence the league and its players union exercises in the world of local law enforcement agencies. Why was this incident not charged, as it surely would have been if Mr Rice was anyone other than a celebrity status football player? There should be an investigation of the investigation in my opinion. But Mr Rice, duly punished, though hardly adequately, should not be subjected to double-jeopardy, even administratively. Such actions rub against the rule of law, which last time I checked still held some sway in the lives of ordinary citizens.

  4. If Ray Lewis could get a pass on his part in a double murder, certainly the guy he so proudly mentored when they were both Ravens should get a pass for merely intentionally knocking a woman out. I’m thinking all this horror over male domestic violence versus woman needs to be rephrased anyway: we need to put an end to violence period. After all, isn’t there plenty of violence versus occasionally weaker males, the elderly and kids, too? Why dwell on the notion that domestic violence is primarily a male vs female issue? Violence abounds in our society. It’s on TV all day long and a huge percent of viewers thrive on it. These are the folks who resort to it. Finally, isn’t it vastly amusing that ESPN, which loves to feature vicious and unsportsmanlike hits and/or conduct and which hires and fawns over thugs like Ray Lewis, should now be so aghast at Ray Rice’s brutal conduct vs his wife? RF Merrill

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