It’s a “good thing” Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice only punched his fiancé (now wife) in the face and knocked her unconscious in the Revel Casino elevator in Atlantic City.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell only suspended him for two games this coming season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
What a joke!
Ironically, Rice could have committed these “egregious” acts and faced far stiffer sanctions from the NFL Commissioner’s office.
Like the Indianapolis Colts’ Robert Mathis, Rice could have been hit with a four game suspension for asking a respected doctor to inject him with a fertility drug in order to impregnate his wife, so that couple could start a family.
Or, like the Oakland Raiders’ Terrell Pryor, Rice could have been banned for five games for acting as a reckless teenager and foolishly trading official NCAA licensed apparel for tattoos while attending Ohio State University.
And, like the Cleveland Browns’ Josh Gordon, Rice could have smoked some weed (which is legal now in Colorado and Oregon) and found himself sidelined for 16 games.
But, the little running back caught a huge break from the NFL’s Park Avenue offices in New York City.
In a hard hitting, spine altering, concussion conscious league, the Commissioner went soft, very soft.
Goodell levied an embarrassing slap on the wrist fine for Rice’s unconscionable act caught on a hotel surveillance camera.
The video clearly shows the Baltimore Ravens’ batterer dragging his unconscious fiancé Janay Palmer across the elevator’s threshold into the hallway of the Revel Casino.
The Commissioner could have utilized this horrible example to educate our country about domestic abuse, but didn’t. Rather, he fumbled badly on a topic that begs for national dialogue.
SafeHorizon reports that as many as three million children witness domestic violence each year and that one in four women will be affected by it during their lifetimes.
So, what message did Roger Goodell just send to an uninformed society that cringes when the subject of domestic abuse surfaces?
Doesn’t the Commissioner believe he bears some responsibility to educate fans about the ugly reality of domestic violence when it’s inflicted by some of his league’s very own players?
Like the league’s annual comprehensive campaign of building awareness about women’s breast cancer.
Like last year’s blanket educational coverage about the dangers of football related concussions.
And, like this year’s non-stop frenzy of media surrounding Michael Sam’s coming out of the closet.
May the NFL draft a new policy, dial up a blitzing educational campaign and design an expert game plan to educate fans about the swept-under-the-carpet subject of domestic abuse in our society.
May both male and female football fans rise up and get their voices heard. May they start web sites, share videos, boycott games, picket and protest to decry domestic violence.
The time is now for the muffled cries of battered women and children to be heard. Not just the sad story of Janay Palmer Rice.
Her husband Ray Rice may have gotten off easy with a $58,000 fine and a laughable two game suspension.
But, going forward, may the sting of Ray Rice’s cowardly punch be metaphorically felt by those who would lift their fists to inflict violence.
May Roger Goodell feel it, too. For a powerful leader in a position to stem the tide or bring awareness to the ugly issue of domestic violence, may he choose not to slap perpetrators on the wrist.
But, opt to make the punishment truly fit the crime of striking and hurting a woman.
Man up, Commish!
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!