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Sunday 28th May 2017

Don't jump to conclusions: I do not think Ray Rice did nothing wrong.

The TMZ videos confirm he can be a brute.

But, as I was mostly appalled--along with the rest of the world I suppose--with Roger Goodell's initial penalty for the Running Back, I now think the world has gone overboard in trying to right some bad judgement from a path that was messed up from the start.

To be sure, Rice seriously clocked his now wife--Janay Palmer--and now we have a pretty good look at before and after.

There have been so many analysts spitting it out how men should never hit women, and I agree, although I kind of think women should never hit men, either. Hitting is not a good thing, no matter who does it, so while I understand that Janay might need a crow bar to return the favor to Ray, it is indeed the lashing out that needs addressing for it is the main behavior that needs modification.

I am, though, curious as to why everyone seems so shocked as to how visceral Ray's knockout punch really was?

I mean, we see him drag her, unconscious, out of the elevator, and even go back to pick up Janay's errant shoe. How did anyone think she got that way? A ruffie? Sodium Penethol?

Aside from the fact that there was a police investigation, and apparently Rice has been somewhat contrite about admitting he belted Janay, what did we think the blow would look like? Gentler?

Yet when the McGuffin-like imaginary punch turned into an actual video, suddenly the league and team were shocked and Rice lost his job and ability to play in the league.

He also lost his Nike contract, his likeness on the EA Madden football game, and god forbid, if you liked Ray and bought one of his jerseys, the Ravens will let you trade it in for another number.

Again, I am not so much defending Rice as suggesting he too has become a victim of a set of inadequate guidelines from the NFL and then the incredibly fickle judgments of the media and public.

So, think about this.

The incident was reported to the police. Rice was charged, and he has begun going to counselling with Palmer.

And, though I agree--as I wrote at the time--two games was an insignificant penalty relative to say Wes Welker losing four games for illegal self-medication.

But, the league had no rule for Rice, or for the other 75 players charged with spousal abuse since 2000, none of whom seemed to merit a mention save Jovan Belcher last year. But, it was only Belcher's sad actions after the arrest that caught our attention.

That incident did, however, offer Goodell and the owners an even more high profile opportunity to take a stand on spousal abuse--under far more dramatic circumstances--but, well, they all fumbled.

I do ask, as a matter of ethics, is what Rice did worse than what Josh Gordon did? How about Michael Vick?

What about the idea of double jeopardy (ok, so the NFL front office is not a court of law), and changing the punishment to Rice after the fact? Total bullshit, that is, and if you think not, imagine if you were arrested for spousal abuse where you work?

True, your employer might fire you, but more than likely, you would be required to seek help (which Rice is doing) and perhaps face some kind of disciplinary action at work.

For a first offense--of which this is Rice's, anywhere, it seems--that would pretty much be it. It isn't like after levying judgment, your employer or the court would say, "hey, what we sentenced you to was incorrect, we are going to change it to make us look better."

And what about it being Rice's first offense--not that the anger or frustration might not have been building for years, or even that he has lashed out before, and we didn't know about it--and giving people a second chance? Or, at least a chance to learn and redeem themselves?

Now, I am not saying Nike was wrong for terminating their contract. That is appropriate, but something the company should have done months ago, but really, taking him out of Madden football? How petty and punitive is that? Or, allowing fans to trade in their jerseys?

That is just mean-spirited at this point. Had the Ravens, like Nike, taken action right away stating that spousal abuse had no part in their organization, that might have seemed harsh, but for me I would have understood.

But now that the punch is public instead of just the aftermath of the holocaust, suddenly the NFL and Ravens have become holier than though.

If you asked me, suspending Rice for a year off the top, giving him that time to go to counselling and get his life together to go with a year's NFL suspension, seems appropriate. That strikes me as a business dealing directly with an employee who is facing a challenge, and even supportive of him or her.

But, now, after a first series of penalties, changing the parameters, and essentially casting both Rice and Palmer to the emotional wolves is beyond inappropriate and cruel. 

It is wrong.

Comments   

0 #7 John Verdello 2014-09-11 22:05
We've become a Law and Order/CSI galvanized society. We know the evidence is out there ...now all someone has to do is present it to us in a way we like. Why is it considered piling on Rice when 1) he did this to himself 2) guys like Money Mayweather and Greg Olson get to skate and he would have spit in our faces if this tape had surfaced just 10 days later.

No ...we're afraid to call them like we see them anymore. Goodell has his own problems now and someone is going to wind up falling on their sword via a not so gentle push. But Rice managed to get and keep a get out of jail free card - forget the NFL ... and people wanted to draw and quarter Vick for fighting dogs. That's why rushes to judgement can backfire.
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0 #6 John Verdello 2014-09-11 21:59
Want to know WHY we didn't act in February ...because the current generation and those of us living in the US don't want to draw any conclusions. Even us poor slobs in the working public are being chastised when we don't say he ALLEGEDLY did something .. we don't want to be labelled as bigots or racists or crackers or quick to judge or whatever label you like.I don't think we're piling on ... I think Ray Rice thought he had us all snowed and that he was going to get over on all of us. Seems to me we're simply talking about a matter of timing.

I re watched MSNBC's coverage of 9/11 this morning - Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw ... and it seemed that a lot of questions were being asked that people could not possibly have the answers to at they time they were asked ...but they asked them anyway.
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0 #5 Lawr Michaels 2014-09-11 18:39
thanks kid and cub...

just to be clear, my main point is indeed we should have been outraged at this, and acted swiftly, back in February/when it first came to light.

the extra video only confirms what we saw at the end of the video: he cold cocked her, and that would never be pretty.

but, now his high school is expunging him, and there is an FBI investigation (wow, why were they not as interested in Michael Brown, who was actually killed, as quickly).

I just don't think what he did is any worse now, just cos we saw it. it was already bad.

now it is CYA/piling on, and i think we are over--and inappropriately--reacting.

is this a big deal?

not compared to michael brown or iraq yet, it is a lead story all over the place.

this is now like a project that has run amok and has 20 different people pretending to run things.

and in the process, like it or not, give the rices a chance to deal with a punishment and see if they learned a lesson.

if yes, the punishment is effective: if not, then take him of EA sports and such.
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0 #4 John Verdello 2014-09-11 17:32
Want to think about something really infuriating ...what if this tape came to light the week AFTER the third game of the season? Then what?
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0 #3 John Verdello 2014-09-11 17:30
If not, prosecutors have offered Rice a plea bargain that would spare him jail time if he participates in anger management counseling.

''He's ashamed of his conduct and he's sorry for what he did,'' attorney Michael Diamondstein told reporters outside the courthouse.

Huh???? He pled NOT GUILTY!!! So he didn't do ANYTHING ....right? So why does he need pre-trail intervention?? Guess you ARE allowed to lie in court with some impunity! Sheesh! (Yeah, I know ...a plea isn't the same as an admission .... least not in the last 30 years or so. Didn't used to be that way!)

He tried to punk skate his ass out of all of this. He didn't admit a damn thing and he winked at all of us and hoped he wouldn't get caught in time. The A/C DA should be joining all those casino workers on unemployment by the end of this month. We all are appalled by the "knockout" game ... tell me ...why is this any different?
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0 #2 John Verdello 2014-09-11 17:24
Whoa ...let's back up the truck here. The water's edge isn't at 350 Park ...it's at an Atlantic City Courthouse. i posetd this on my Facebook page at the time the pleas was entered;

MAYS LANDING, N.J. (AP) -- Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice pleaded not guilty Thursday to assault charges stemming from an incident with his then-girlfriend in an Atlantic City casino elevator. His lawyer said Rice is ''ashamed'' and ''sorry'' about his conduct but would not specify exactly what Rice did...

After the five-minute court hearing, Rice applied for New Jersey's pretrial intervention program, which allows for charges to be dismissed against first-time offenders who participate in the program and meet certain conditions. The county prosecutor will decide whether Rice is allowed to enter the program.
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0 #1 Michael July 2014-09-11 16:51
Until the video surfaced we could only speculate what happened. Once people have an image to see the game changes and reality sets in. You're right Goodell and the Ravens "fumbled" in their initial handling. What they now have done may be seen as over-reaction by some it's all about face saving. They had to do something NOW and fast or the world of instant crucification via social media would have become a media "shark feeding frenzy". Admit it, had they given him a 6 game suspension the media and the court of public opinion would have taken them to the cleaners. As for Rice, his actions speak volumes. He made no effort to assist her other than try to prop her up and drag her out of the elevator then plop her on the floor. Why not pick her up in her arms? Surely if he can bench 250 lbs he can pick up a 125 lb woman. While only conjecture on my part I think probabilities are high he's done this before. He certainly didn't act upset when he knocked her out. BTW, he'll be back in a year.
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