Late last night, TMZ uploaded video footage of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out cold his then-fiancee, now-wife Janay Palmer in a parking garage elevator, at the recently defunct Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on February 15th. Here's the Story
Back on February 19th, TMZ uploaded the now famous video of Rice dragging Ms. Palmer unconscious from the elevator. Today it was apparent there was irrefutable evidence condemning Rice, although given the previously released video there seemed to be no doubt.
An initial ban of two games that Rice was assessed seemed especially malodorous, given the fact that trace amounts of increasingly legal herb found in a player's urine triggered an automatic four-game ban under the league's substance abuse policies. Making the Rice penalty even more absurd is the fact that last year's Super Bowl (Seattle vs. Denver) was a clash between two states populated by millions of retail pot users.
The firestorm over the NFL banning Rice from playing only two games came as a shock to those who feel Penn State was punished too severely in the Sandusky case. Thankfully the majority felt it was a shockingly lenient penalty for an apparent felonious assault. and that incited mass criticism.
Commissioner Roger Goodell belatedly convened with experts to rewrite the NFL's policy on players accused of domestic violence. To his credit at the time, Goodell admitted that "he didn't get it right" with respect to Rice's punishment.
With the involvement of Kim Gandy of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and other experts the NFL's new policy, includes "a six-game suspension for first offenses and a lifetime ban with the second, though players have the opportunity to apply for "reinstatement after a year." Sadly for the league, they did not "get it" in time. ESPN reports that Goodell was blown away by the initial reaction saying to Gandy, " ...we actually did something. Half a million is a lot of money. Why aren't people mad at the judge and prosecutor who did nothing at all?"
The new video makes the NFL's initial suspension/slap on the wrist appear even more insane than it seemed at first. Sadly, one does not even need to see the footage to understand what went down in that elevator. An NFL running back goes into an elevator with his fiancée, doors close, doors open and she's being dragged out, knocked out. It's not hard to conclude that Ray Rice should be in jail with O.J.
What Goodell and his owners did not understand is that money is largely irrelevant to the controlling abuser. Half a million dollars is nothing to those types. It's a compulsion like Jerry Sandusky's manifested another way. 500 K is a pittance, given our societal refusal to tolerate violence against women. The thoughtful-minded public didn't want to see metaphysical examples of excrement like Rice on the field. With a fan base that is 35% female, the NFL should have set an example to the public, and epically failed.
What seems incongruent is that Cleveland Brown Josh Gordon was banned for two games for substance abuse last year. He asserts the substance was actually cough syrup containing codeine that he took for strep throat. Rice receiving the same punishment for brutally beating a woman as Gordon did for taking cough syrup when sick seems utterly insane. During the offseason, Gordon was arrested for a DWI and was suspended for 2014 for violating the substance rule a second time. At the time Rice was suspended, the NFL didn't have a second-violation rule for domestic violence.
What we have seen today was Rice's punishment being amended, not due to what's been shown in this second video, but because he has become the Donald Sterling of the NFL. They were forced to make an example of him to prove their stance on domestic violence to players, fans, and society . It should not be forgotten that the track record to date has been nothing short of a travesty.
Courtesy of TMZ, here are some of my favorite celebrity "tweets"
Linda Cohn -- Looks like this #RayRice video was more important to discover for TMZSports than it was to the @NFL. Very sad.
Jay Glazer -- I am never speechless. That ray rice video... beyond words. Ban him now! ... If you play a violent sport & are violent toward a woman ur right to play that sport should be taken away. Plus his callous disregard for her well being after she was KO'd is equally as disturbing. Absolutely disgraceful
Keith Olbermann -- Roger Goodell's position as Commissioner of the NFL is no longer tenable. Whether he saw the #RayRice video or he did not, he failed.
Doug Gottlieb -- Remember when #Ravens fans gave #RayRice a standing O.... Twice? Good times
Deion Sanders -- Instead of @RayRice27 and his Wife being the topic of your conversation today for the video let's PRAY for them and their marriage.
Michelle Beadle -- She must have used some pretty inflammatory words to deserve those punches. Two freaking games. Criminal act. Go sit in the corner.<span >Did @nfl and @nflcommish really think this video wouldn't eventually surface? That we wouldn't see that disgrace? Never too late, Goodell
Seth Rogen -- I don't know much about football, but I know that Ray Rice is a piece of garbage who shouldn't be allowed to play it professionally anymore. @nflcommish your punishment for beating a woman is less than for smoking weed. Get your head out of your f**king ass.
Remember the Dylan song about the first famed boxer maned Davey Moore who died in the ring? The NFL would do well to review this footage for two reasons. First is that due to the proven danger to participants, and coupled with overexposure on TV, the once-dominant sport of boxing is not even the most popular combat sport. The second is that seeing Ms. Palmer hit her head on the elevator grab bar on TMZ, was like watching the base of Davey's head hit a glancing blow to the turnbuckle. It's a miracle the now Mrs. Rice was not the victim of a basilar skull fracture.
Robert Silverman in the Daily Beast wrote a great post about the question of what did the NFL know, and when did they know it. An Excerpt from (and a link to) How Could the NFL Not Know About the Brutal Second Ray Rice Tape? are here.
"The suspension, both the inadequate two-gamer and Monday’s release and indefinite ban, doesn’t change the fact that the NFL doesn’t care about domestic violence. It didn’t care when Jovan Belcher shot his wife. It does not care that Ray McDonald suited up this weekend for the San Francisco 49ers or Greg Hardy did the same for the Carolina Panthers. If the second tape weren’t being played and replayed horridly on screens everywhere, Rice would be getting ready for practice come Friday.
For now, Rice is gone, and the NFL will point to its new zero-tolerance policy and shake its head sadly. Don’t buy it. That’s not morality. That’s damage control.
For non-fans, the public face of the league isn’t what remains a beautiful, exciting game but an arrogant doof who insists on holding on to a racist slur of a name or the continuing efforts to conceal the mounting pile of bodies/ex-employees suffering from various forms of chronic brain trauma.
For fans—and yes, I still count myself as one; if you want to call me a hypocrite, go ahead—there’s a choice. You can either consume this plasticky PR nonsense and keep watching, or you can walk away. Sad to say, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that there is no way to be a fan of football without sticking your head in the sand. "