ray rice and the nfl’s reaction to domestic violence

TW: domestic violence
The recent video footage (Warning: extremely graphic. I could barely watch it in its entirety) of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-girlfriend-now-wife, Janay Rice, has caused public outcry and rightly so. But why has it taken months for this to happen? Why did the NFL support him all these months up until the new video surfaced? NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even said in a statement, “…Seeing that video changed everything. We should have seen it earlier. We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously. We didn’t and we were wrong.” He went on to say that Rice had earned the benefit of the doubt due to his contributions to the NFL. Let that just sink in for a moment. He earned the benefit of the doubt. The initial video obtained back in February, when the assault occured, showed the aftermath of Rice’s assault– him dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of an elevator and dropping her limp body on the floor like she was a sack of potatoes. Why that video wasn’t enough to cast doubt, I have no idea (actually, I do and I’ll discuss it later). When are people going to realize just because you “know” someone and they seem to be successful, contributing members of society doesn’t mean that behind closed they are that same person? In fact, they can be quite monstrous. I am reminded of the Woody Allen ordeal and how certain celebrity friends chose to remain silent about Dylan speaking out while remaining supportive of Woody Allen. Even the media questioned her and her motive because hello! Woody Allen is an Oscar winning director and doesn’t he look so meek in his little sweater vests and his little glasses? He’s so unassuming; he couldn’t possibly have done the horrible things she is accusing him of.

The NFL has failed yet again at handling domestic violence in their league. Over and over again, they have shown that they do not consider this behavior worthy of more than just a slap on the wrist. Rice, who was initially suspended FOR ONLY 2 GAMES, was suspended indefinitely, but the league made sure it was clear he would be welcome back if he took steps to address his problem. They say “We won’t tolerate domestic violence” but they are sending a very different message loud and clear. It says that maybe it was her fault. It says it isn’t that big of a deal unless surveillance of the assault is released to the (outraged) public. It says game is more important than a battered woman.

There is no other side of the story. It doesn’t matter what she said or did. Beating her to a state of unconsciousness will always be his fault.

It is not her fault.
It is not her fault.
It is not her fault.

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