Ray Rice is guilty of domestic violence. No one, including Mr. Rice, disputes that. His guilt was established weeks ago when a video was released showing Mr. Rice dragging his unconscious fiance out of the elevator.
The National Football League subsequently did a video review and, after Mr. Rice supplicated appropriately, gave him a paltry two game suspension.
However this decision was dramatically reversed today when videotape was released – a reverse angle as it were – showing Mr. Rice actually throw the punch that knocked her out.
The NFL’s reversed decision was radioed down to the field and Mr. Rice was terminated by his team, the Baltimore Ravens, and suspended indefinitely by the league.
The odd thing about this reversal is that the second videotape does not reveal anything not already known; he had admitted to striking her and the videotape had shown her unconscious from that blow. However Mr. Rice’s crime of domestic violence is not in fact at issue here, but rather the perception that the league endorses the crime. The league understands that, if they didn’t take drastic action that it isn’t Mr. Rice who punched that poor woman and knocked her out, but the NFL itself. Which begs the question of Ray Lewis, a former NFL Baltimore Raven who served time for obstruction of justice – a plea deal to avoid murder charges – and yet recently had a statue erected in his honor.
Indeed what if Mr. Lewis’ crime had been videotaped? Would that statue have been erected or Mr. Lewis ever allowed in the television booth? The sad truth is that, as guilty as Mr. Rice is of assault, he is a scapegoat, someone for the rest of the league to heap scorn on, so that the NFL can be left to commit business as usual. (Fantasy Football owners will just have to bite the bullet and let Ray go.)