AUSTIN MILLER I STAFF REPORTER
On Monday morning, TMZ Sports released a video that appears to show former Baltimore Ravens running-back Ray Rice striking his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator, causing her to fall unconscious immediately.
Shortly thereafter, the Ravens reacted by terminating Rice’s contract, and the National Football League itself banned him indefinitely.
Rice was already in the process of serving a two-game suspension, stemming from a video that was also released by TMZ Sports earlier this summer, which showed Rice dragging his then-fiancée out of the elevator. The suspension was the result of a “lengthy and thorough” investigation done by the league.
However, Monday’s revelations have left some wondering how the NFL came to the decision that now was the right time to serve Rice an indefinite suspension, and not after the first video was released.
Rice should have been banned the moment that this heinous crime came to the forefront. It is my opinion that in no way, shape or form should he have ever again been allowed to even bear an impact on the Baltimore Ravens or the NFL at large.
Instead, the Baltimore Ravens’ organization defended Rice as he presented a traditional post-accusation apology speech similar to those of athletes or celebrities swiftly falling from grace.
The fact that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as the rest of those who were a part of the investigation process, let him off with a pathetic two-game punishment is absurd. Their ruling gave a criminal a second-chance for a zero-tolerance crime. A wrongdoing of this magnitude could only be made more disgusting by the tragic mishandling of the situation from those in power.
Yes, given the newest findings, the Ravens and the NFL acted justly. But, unfortunately, it is too late. The NFL and the investigation committee had the opportunity to make a statement on domestic abuse, and, in reality, they did, loud and clear.
The NFL’s statement was that football stardom takes precedence over the social well-being of women everywhere. It decided that keeping a star player on the field is of greater importance than serving justice to a man guilty of committing a violent crime worthy of jail, at the very least. How this slipped through an investigation committee consisting of multiple representatives of the District Attorney’s Office of Atlantic County, New Jersey, is unexplainable and inexcusable.
Whether or not this committee or anyone else saw this newest video clip is a moot point. They either saw the clip and went forward with a bogus suspension anyway, or they did not see the clip and failed to seek out the necessary evidence required to make a just ruling on the case.
We, as a society, need to take a step back and evaluate whether or not we should be putting so much into a league which clearly stands for so little at its core.