Social Issues

The NFL Fumbled in Dealing with Ray Rice and Domestic Violence

I didn’t want to write anything about Ray Rice for a few reasons. One, because I was hoping that a change would be made. Two, because enough people with better voices than mine have already vented. And three, because I really like watching NFL games and I’m not yet ready to turn the TV off in protest. I discussed my displeasure on the way the NFL has handled the Ray Rice situation on Facebook and on Twitter, but I held off on writing a post about it.

But I can’t take it anymore. I need to write something for my own cathartic purposes.

If you are not familiar with Ray Rice, he is a football player for the Baltimore Ravens and a pretty talented running back at that. He was also caught on camera coming out of an elevator with his limp fiancée (they have since married) after he punched her and knocked her out. I’m not going to put the video on this page because it sickens me. If you want, you can search for it on YouTube. I don’t recommend it though. I wish I hadn’t seen it.

And what was Ray Rice’s penalty for knocking out his fiancée? A two game suspension!

Pretend with me for a moment. Pretend that the woman that Ray Rice knocked unconscious in the elevator is your mom. Or your sister. Or… your daughter. Go ahead and close your eyes and see the woman you love fall to the floor in a limp heap. Now, replay the image again in your mind.

How do you feel? That’s what the family of Ray Rice’s fiancée saw and felt. And how humiliating it must be for her to have that image played over and over again on news stations around the world.

How probable is that that one of those women in your life might be abused in the same way? Unfortunately, all too probable. 1 in 4 women are abused by someone they love. There are four women in my life – my wife, my mom, my sister, and my daughter. Do the math in your own home.

So what’s the penalty for something so vile?

Two games!

Now let’s compare Rice’s suspension to other recent suspensions.

Lance Johnson Eagles 4 Games Using prescribed medication not cleared by team doctors.
LaVonn Brazil Colts Season Substance Abuse
Brandon Browner Patriots Indefinitely Substance Abuse
Will Hill Giants 6 games Tested for Adderall and Marijuana
Mike Preifer Vikings – Asst. Coach 3 games Using homophobic slur
Jake Knot Eagles 4 games PEDs
Daryl Washington Cardinals Season Substance abuse
Josh Gordon Browns Season Substance abuse

Those are just some of the suspensions this year. I’m not going to list every one of the substance abuses, but most of them are around 4 games. And most of those substance abuse suspensions are marijuana-related, a drug that more and more states are legalizing. What does this tell us? That the NFL cares more about substance abuse than physical abuse.

The NFL had an opportunity to reach their masses and tackle the endemic problem of domestic violence. But they failed. Roger Goodall did not live up to his no-nonsense style of commissioning and the NFL has been unable to articulate any sort of explanation for this slap on the wrist. Football is the most popular sport in the United States and every Sunday, Monday, and now almost every Thursday, people gather at the first church of the NFL to worship their favorites. Every game has commercials headlined by famous athletes and those of us watching want their clothes, shoes, and even their potato chips. The NFL could have used this unfortunate moment to show that there are penalties for this type of behavior. They could have gone off on how wrong it is. But instead they gave Ray Rice a slap on the wrist. He should not be playing this season. Young eyes saw the young woman fall out of the elevator. Young eyes will watch Ray Rice play in the third game. The way the NFL has handled this is almost criminal in itself.

I’m not going off on only Ray Rice here. Sports are replete with examples of domestic abusers being given a get out of jail free card. Remember Floyd “Money” Mayweather? The simple truth is no man should ever hit a woman. Ever. Because no man does. And those cowards who do should be held accountable for their actions. Something the NFL has failed to do.

Other NFL Related Posts:

Eli Manning on Parenting

Youth Football and Concussions- Interview with Harry Carson and Terrell Thomas



  1. Appreciating the commitment you put into your site and detailed information you
    provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed
    material. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  2. Thank you for writing this post! I was one of the one who was abused and know the pain and humiliation that went with it. No one stepped up to help me when this was going on. I have no tolerance for domestic abuse of any kind and am not afraid to step up to the plate and help someone. Thank you again for covering this on going problem.

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