Sports are a funny thing, just like everything else in life, change can happen just like that. Just before I went to bed last night, I saw TMZ sports tweet a video of Ray Rice hitting his then fiance, now wife, Janay. I kind of brushed it off, because we had already went through this whole process.
We get it, they got drunk, she probably said something, and he hit her (which is never defensible). The Ravens screwed up his press conference, basically making Janay apologize for putting herself in that situation. NFL commisioner Roger Goodell then suspended him for 2 games, while suspending those who do drugs (whether molly or weed) for a minimum of 4 games and in some cases up to the whole year. Goodell admitted he got it wrong, and that’s why he created a new domestic abuse policy, and is in the process of changing the drug policy. First time domestic abuse offenders now serve a 6 game suspension, with second time offenders being banned for life. So that’s where we stood when I saw that video last night.
Now all of a sudden the video of him actually hitting her comes out, and all media and social media goes crazy. CRAZY! Let me tell you why that video changed absolutely nothing for me. What did we actually think happened in that elevator? We all knew he hit her, and we just never wanted to actually see it. Now if Ray Rice did some crazy roundhouse kick, or like got on top of her and just threw punch after punch to her then Id understand if we went crazy.
Everybody is falling into this trap that the NFL and the Ravens want you to. If you think today was the first time that they saw that video of him hitting her, than you are just as a naive as everybody else in that boat. In the state of Maryland and New Jersey (where it happened), even when evidence isn’t made public, anything the police or investigators have as evidence, must be showed to any of the involved parties employers, if the employers ask to see it. In this case, there is no way either the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens never asked to see it. Of course they want to see it, it’s their reputation on the line. During the process of the NFL and the Ravens making their decision, it was made known that the Rice had accepted a pretrial plea bargain, and therefore no evidence would be released to the public as there was no need. The NFL and the Ravens probably saw this as a get out of jail free card. They suspended him for 2 games for his actions, knowing the public would never see the video of him hitting her, just her being dragged unconscious. Now today that video is made public and everything changes. The Ravens release him, and the NFL suspends him indefinitely and now say they won’t allow him to sign with any team, until they approve it.
The reason the Ravens and the NFL did this today, is not because they saw it today, but because WE (the public) saw it today. We now know what they know, so their get out of jail free card is gone. If anybody truly believes that TMZ has better investigative people then those employed by the NFL you are out of your mind.
Now, the other topic is he should have done better, if only for the fact that he is a role model. The bottom line is if you look at an athlete or any entertainer as a role model, do so at your own discretion. We now live in a world where athletes are forced to be role models, because of the media attention given to them. How many athletes do you think would rather go play the game, get paid, and not be in the spotlight all the time. They are forced to be out in the community and be role models.
I am in no way condoning what Ray Rice did, and I believe that people deserve a second chance for a mistake, but it was in everybody’s best interest that IF Ray Rice plays another down in the NFL it just won’t be in Baltimore. The problem is how it was handled. The NFL and probably the Ravens tried to hide the actual facts they knew from everybody, and then when they finally were made public to everyone, the NFL and the Ravens acted like they were just hearing about it for the first time too.
Would I have any problem wearing my Ray Rice jersey in public after this incident? Absolutely not. I bought the jersey because of the short, tough running back I saw in him when the Ravens made him their 2nd round pick out of Rutgers. I didn’t buy the jersey because I wanted to be just like him (although im sure many people did). To me every entertainer should be looked at in two different views, on and off the field. I don’t think what they do off the field should have any impact on us, because honestly their personal life is none of our business, and the only reason it is, is because of technology, and the media perception on it.
My favorite athlete all time is Tiger Woods. He was born a golfer, and turned himself into the greatest golfer ever. We then found out he liked sex, maybe a little too much, and then cheated on his wife, multiple, multiple times. I was once told an interesting take; Do you think athletes back then, went around cheating on their wives, especially when they were on the road? Of course they did, but the media never focused on it back then, because it wasn’t a huge deal. Was it right, absolutely not, but in the end it was their personal lives.
The bottom line, is that what Ray Rice did is disturbing and indefensible. We can’t expect him or any other entertainer to be a role model, but what we can and should expect, is that they are going to make themselves the best they can be, at what they do. When choosing your role models, tread lightly, and always remember anything can happen just like that.