TCS: NFL gets it wrong when doing the right thing


Courtesy Photo

NFL running back Ray Rice was fired from the Baltimore Ravens in September, his remaining contract worth millions terminated, after a second video emerged showing him abusing his then fiance and now wife at an Atlantic City casino.

Promptly Nike ended their endorsement of Rice. EA Games declared that Rice would be removed from their newest edition of the Madden video game franchise, Madden 2015. The Baltimore Ravens announced that all Rice jerseys could be exchanged for fans that didn’t want them any longer.

What they did was the right thing in regards to a player who abused his significant other as domestic abuse is nothing to ignore.

There is only one problem, it was all too late.

The right thing might be just that, the right thing to do, yet it means almost nothing when it’s only done for selfish reasons.

Let’s be honest, the only reason Rice was let go from the Ravens and indefinitely placed on suspension by the NFL is because the pressure was too much and they wanted to cut their losses. Up until the release of the second video of Rice abusing his wife even his coach John Harbaugh was willing to stand behind him.

This all occurred because Rice beat his then-fiance Janay Palmer unconscious in an elevator on camera while in the casino in February. Rice then dragged Janay out of the elevator only to drop her to the ground again.

In July after a video surfaced showing  Palmer being dragged out of the elevator, the NFL promptly suspended Rice for two games, a controversial move that angered many fans. In the aftermath Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, admitted that the choice was wrong, especially since there were other members of the league that were suspended far longer for drug and alcohol infractions, and rolled out a whole new policy for domestic abuse as he claimed that the league had zero tolerance for such things.

Being suspended for a few games or banned for a year simply are not harsh enough punishments and certainly do not equate to a zero tolerance policy worth taking seriously.”

Their policy is a joke. For the first offense the abuser will be suspended for six games and banned indefinitely for the second offense with the stipulation that in a years time they will be allowed to reapply to the league. Yet Goodall said in the letter in which he revealed this new policy that re-applying doesn’t guarantee they’ll be reinstated, according to USA Today.

Being suspended for a few games or banned for a year simply are not harsh enough punishments and certainly do not equate to a zero tolerance policy worth taking seriously.

The second video that lead to Rice being fired showed the moment where he punched Palmer leading to her head being smacked against the elevator railing as she fell.

The fact that it took a second video for the Ravens, the NFL and others to come to their senses is disgusting. Seeing a man dragging a woman out of an elevator like a sack of potatoes, and that he admitted  he hit her, should have been enough for them to do something back in July.

What truly makes the decision hollow is that Ray McDonald of the 49’ers has been arrested and accused of domestic abuse, court proceedings still forthcoming, and coach Jim Harbaugh, brother to the Ravens coach, is playing McDonald.

In the NFL no tolerance apparently means nothing at all. Player arrests for domestic abuse, drugs, DUI, murder and various other crimes are increasing and yet the most that happens is a slap on the wrist and some time off.

When most have raked in millions in the bank, some time off till they can come back means nothing more than they lost a year of playing time.

In his first interview since the firing, Goodell proved that every action is pretty much hollow as he said to CBS News that Rice very well could play in the NFL again “But he would have to make sure that we are fully confident that he is addressing this issue clearly, (that) he has paid the price for the actions that he’s already taken.”

So much for zero tolerance.