The NFL and the Baltimore Ravens got things right yesterday – but it sure took long enough and there are still enough questions left unanswered to prevent you from holding both up as pillars of the moral code.
If you’re a fan at all of professional football, you probably knew about Ray Rice’s suspension.
But if you’re not aware of the news, here’s the gist:
Ray Rice, a running back for the Ravens, earned a paltry two-game suspension at the start of the NFL season for assaulting his then fiancee, Janay Palmer. Most were up in arms about Rice’s seemingly short punishment, and even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted later that he blew it with the short suspension. A few weeks after handing down that punishment, the NFL increased the suspensions for domestic abuse.
Then came Monday. TMZ Sports released footage of the abusive incident that occurred in an Atlantic City hotel elevator. The film, which was recorded on a security camera inside the elevator, shows Rice punching his Palmer with such severity that she went airborne, hit her head on the handrail, and was knocked cold for several minutes.
Here’s the footage.
Following the release of the footage, the Ravens cut Rice from the team and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
Those were the right moves, but did the NFL and the Ravens see the footage earlier? Both claimed they hadn’t until the rest of us saw it, but I’m doubtful. Some reports have suggested that both parties had seen the tape when the original two-game suspension was handed down.
Even so, what did they think went on in the elevator? A game of patty cake? We didn’t even need the elevator tape when the outside security camera caught Rice dragging his fiancee through the elevator doors.
We’ve given too much rope to professional athletes. Like teachers, an athlete’s job is to perform, but to also recognize their inspirational hold on others. It’s why we can’t allow incidents like this with Rice to go unpunished or be brushed aside. Our world needs better.
For the NFL and the Ravens, I think this was a case of both wanting the story to be swept away and got caught with the broom in their hands. So the next time either claims to have high, moral standards, I’m going to be skeptical.