Ray Rice Was Wrong, But
is all this really necessary?
I’d like to start this by saying what Ray Rice did was wrong. No man should ever hit a woman like that, especially with a sucker punch to the jaw. However, what is equally appalling is the way this case has been handled in the public forum.
Ray Rice was not the only NFL player this off season to have been arrested in a domestic violence case. Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers and Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers also we arrested in domestic violence cases. These players were not ‘indefinitely suspended’ for their cases, nor is there a demand for the public execution of these players. Obviously, the fact this incident was recorded on camera plays a major part in this. Another major factor is due to the fact that Rice is a superstar running back who helped bring a Super Bowl to his city. The public hanging of Rice sends the message that no player is above the NFL’s shield, no matter how good you are.
It is unfair to Rice that his career is ended indefinitely, while two other players in similar situations will probably be back on the field this season. Either both of these players should receive a similar punishments to Rice or Rice’s punishment should be similar to that of McDonald and Hardy. While no player is above the NFL’s shield, all players under the shield should be treated equally regardless of success and notoriety. Unfortunately for Rice it seems as if the NFLPA is going to allow one of their own to be thrown under the bus in fear of repercussions from the media and domestic violence advocates.
FiveThirtyEight came out with a piece a few weeks back that helps to quantify this situation. Arrest rates among NFL players are quite low compared to the national average for men in that age range. The most common arrests for the general public are drug-related offenses and DUI’s, while in the NFL the most common offense is DUI with assault being second. Domestic Violence accounts for 48% of arrests of violent crimes committed by NFL players compared to an estimated 21% nationally. So does the statement “The NFL has a problem with domestic violence” hold true; it appears the numbers support that notion.
Just because Janay Rice’s husband is a Pro-Bowl running back it does not mean she should be forced into becoming the public mascot for domestic violence. Sadly for her TMZ will do anything for page views, and more and more ESPN seems to be turning to the trash media outlet for its news stories. When the initial elevator footage was leaked to the public it is certain Janay’s family and friends were made aware of the incident. It is ultimately their job to make sure she is a safe, not the Media or NFL’s job. All replaying the incident and continually talking about it does is prevent someone who is already battered and bruised from healing.
Can we stop pouring salt in the wounds and move forward?