Ray Rice isn’t the problem

William Cheney

If a picture is worth a thousand words and a video obtained by police is worth a two- game suspension, what’s a leaked video worth?

Baltimore Ravens’ pro bowl running back Ray Rice got off easy in July when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dropped a Styrofoam hammer on him for assaulting his fiancé in an Atlantic City Hotel elevator. A two-game suspension that garnered scrutiny from, let me just conservatively say, everyone.

Fast forward to Monday when TMZ “leaked” the full elevator video of Rice hitting his now wife, Janay Palmer. Why TMZ decided to release the video the day after the opening Sunday of the NFL season is, well, another argument in itself.

Just hours after the video spread throughout cyberspace, the NFL and the Ravens saw the opportunity and, as expected, made a reaction that was intended to get the public back on their side and forget about the two-game suspension from July. The Ravens terminated Rice’s contract and the league suspended him indefinitely.

The video stirred up a lot of emotion and discussion but forget the video. Forget it. It shouldn’t have taken a leaked video after the fact for the NFL and the Ravens to take appropriate action. Whether Palmer is publicly defending her husband or not, there can be no mulligans given to a group of people who chose not to take a case of a man hitting a woman seriously.

I shouldn’t have to sit here and give you the Nancy Grace monologue about why it’s wrong for a man to hit a woman under any and all circumstances, but maybe the NFL and Ravens need to hear it. You’d like to think that would fall in the category of unacceptable acts that fall under a zero-tolerance policy. Just like you should know not to drive while intoxicated… ahem… Le’Veon Bell.

Domestic violence is real. It’s something that goes beyond the famousness of any individual and there is never – let me say it again, never – any reason on this planet that can justify a man knocking a woman out cold. With that said, TMZ deciding to stir the pot shouldn’t make the league and its followers just now realize that what occurred is inexcusable.

ESPN’s Keith Olbermann broke down the ramifications of the negligence of the Ravens.

“Mr. Cass (Dick Cass, Ravens president) and Mr. Newsome (Ozzie Newsome, Ravens general manager) put the meaninglessness of their own team’s financial and on-field success ahead of the safety and well being of not only Janay Palmer, but every woman in the country now threatened by a man who, because of how they covered for Ray Rice, is a little more confident that he can get away with it,” Olbermann said.

The truth of the matter is, there are no clean hands at this point. The NFL and the Ravens are just as guilty as Rice for essentially enabling the act of domestic violence.

Even under the amended rules, a first domestic violence offense is six games. Six. A league where Josh Gordon receives a year-long suspension for smoking weed and gets a more severe suspension than that of a man who beats his “significant” other is sad, truly sad. Especially from a commissioner who prides himself on severe punishments for wrongdoings, or so we’re led to believe.