Monday, September 8, 2014

On Ray Rice. . .

Over the summer, an interesting video appeared, showing Baltimore Raven running back Ray Rice dragging his now wife from an elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The reason he was dragging her from the elevator is because she was completely unconscious. Because, it was believed, he knocked her out.

In the intervening weeks after the incident, Ray Rice married the woman he knocked unconscious, and she apologized for her role in the incident, stating that she "provoked" the violent attack.  After what was alleged to be a thorough investigation, the NFL suspended Ray Rice for two games (out of the sixteen that are normally played).  In the meantime, several NFL players were suspended for an entire season (all sixteen games) for using marijuana.  The whole thing left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, and as sports fans, we tried to move on.

Then TMZ released the following video, shot from INSIDE THE ELEVATOR.

Whereas before we could only see the aftermath, we now can see the incident in its entirety.  There are a couple of things that gets me about the video:

1) It appears what started as an argument escalated to violence when Ray Rice stands too close to his wife in the elevator, and she pushes him away with her elbow. If Ray Rice steps away from his wife, who's clearly agitated at this point, the incident is over. Instead, he slaps her, she attacks in retaliation, and he punches her.

2) Rice's reaction to knocking his wife completely unconscious (for several minutes, mind you) is chilling. Let's say you are having a fight with your significant other, and during said fight, you accidentally or purposefully (or instinctively) caused your significant other to be knocked out. How would you react? Most likely, you'd be concerned for your significant other, and call 911 to seek medical attention. This is especially true if, as here, your significant other hit her head on the elevator handrail.

Ray Rice's reaction not to immediately seek medical attention, but rather, was to calmly DRAG HIS WIFE FROM THE ELEVATOR. Seriously.

3) Up until the release of this video, everyone was pretty much on board with the idea that Ray Rice was "defending himself" from his wife. And in fact, the Ravens got Mrs. Rice to "apologize" for her part in the altercation. 

I'm going to let that sink in for a moment. . .waiting. . .waiting. . .Yes, that's right, she felt the need to APOLOGIZE FOR BEING KNOCKED OUT AND DRAGGED FROM AN ELEVATOR.  Of course, the poor woman was so concussed that she probably wouldn't remember the details of that night.

4) Both the NFL and the Atlantic City DA should be ashamed of themselves. Either they saw this video and agreed to let Ray Rice walk with a slap on the wrist, or they didn't see the video (IT HAPPENED IN A CASINO, OF COURSE THERE WAS VIDEO), and decided they didn't need to see it. Ugh.

With the DA, I guess I could make some excuses - juries are fickle, the complaining witness was going to be uncooperative (and probably had no memory of the incident), etc. For the NFL, this is nothing short of a PR disaster. Let's compare - Ray Rice was suspended for two games for violently attacking his fiancee (now wife), then dragging her unconscious body across the floor. Josh Gordon, of the Cleveland Browns, was suspended an entire season for smoking weed. Gotta love the drug war. Oh, and Von Miller, a player for the Denver Broncos, was suspended four games (twice Rice's punishment) for smoking weed even though SMOKING WEED IS LEGAL IN COLORADO.  Gotta love the war on drugs.

Anyway, I'm glad that to see that Rice was cut by the Ravens and then suspended indefinitely by the NFL. It should have happened a lot sooner.