The NFL Is Covering Its Own Butt In The Ray Rice Incident

| by Chrysler Summer

Certainly the whole Ray Rice matter is a sad story for a lot of reasons. Ray Rice is the former Baltimore Ravens running back who was caught on camera brutally punching his wife in an elevator. The Ravens cut him from the team after a longer version of the video was released this week by TMZ.

Previously, when all that had been seen of the incident was Rice dragging his unconscious wife from the elevator, Rice was given a two week suspension by the team and the NFL. But after the whole video was released, the public outcry and media attention was so great that the NFL and the Ravens were forced to take a much more serious stand: cutting him from the team and an indefinite suspension from the NFL.

Questions remain as to why the NFL and the Ravens did not take this more serious action when the first shorter video was released. In other words, most think they only took a real stand to protect their public image and not because they were disgusted by their player's domestic violence.

What made the situation even sadder was the release yesterday of a statement of sorts by Janay Rice, Ray Rice’s wife, who is the woman in the video. In the statement, released on Instagram, Janay wrote:

“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it's reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don't you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!"

Very sad. It’s sad because while a battered wife standing behind her abusive husband is quite common and should not be an excuse for letting him off the hook, it does show the pain she is in. It is why police arrest offenders regardless of what the spouse says in domestic violence situations. But what she says is absolutely true about the fact that for most people talking about this incident, there is no real compassion for her.

By the way, frankly I have no sympathy for Ray Rice. The media is playing that painful video over and over again for ratings, not compassion. The NFL and the Ravens surely knew about the longer video of what happened inside the elevator and simply did not think it was worth firing Rice over. Not until the media and the public got ahold of it, tha is. And Janay knows this. She knows protecting her husband and the NFL was more important than her.

I do not buy that the NFL did not see the full footage, which is their excuse. The hotel where the incident took place has stated they made several copies for authorities and it was available since the first video came out. I would even argue that if the very powerful NFL did not see the full video before or ask for it, that is an even worse response. The reason everyone is so mad at the NFL and the Ravens is because they have issued harsher penalties for drug violations than for a man who admitted early on he knocked his wife out in that incident. So now they are covering their collective butts so as not to look soft on the issue.

Too late.

Enough with the video now. Obviously I am glad it was released since the NFL and the Ravens would have gone on ignoring how serious this incident was without it. But at some point we do need to respect Janay Rice and give her the privacy she deserves for what does have to be a tough situation. She does not deserve to be publicly humiliated and relive the incident over and over again. Ray Rice got what he deserved. It’s time to help Janay. The next step in that process is to give her privacy and hope those around her and the authorities involved get her the counseling she needs to deal with this dangerous situation. This is not just a media event and a viral video, it is someone’s life.