In what has been one of the uglier mishandlings of off-field events in the NFL, today more damning evidence of Ray Rice’s came to light leading to his contract with the Ravens being terminated and being banned from the NFL indefinitely. From this, there are three points I’m taking away:
1) The Good – TMZ has finally contributed to society by bringing to light the Knockout Video. Honestly, if this had not come to light, then Rice would be back on the field with the Ravens next week, which would have been a real shame.
2) The Bad – Ray Rice’s actions depicted in the video are disgusting at best. To take a swing like that at someone you’ve claimed to love is outlandish, no matter the context. Some will bring up that Janay Rice forgave him and married him just a month after the event, but it’s hard to read too much into that. After all, battered person syndrome is a potential in any such situation, plus there was the pressure of an entire organization to make this go away ans quickly as possible, which leads us to…
3) The Ugly – I am at least as appalled, if not more-so, at the actions of the Ravens organization to make this event go away as quietly as possible from the outset. They rallied the troops, got behind Rice 110%, and even tweeted an apology on behalf of Janay Rice shortly after the original story came to light (which has since been deleted). In an era where it’s increasingly common to see a team step back and let things play out, the Ravens instead bet on the wrong horse. And then, with egg on their face (or maybe a “fried Rice” joke?) they immediately did an about-face when the TMZ video surfaced. Kudos to them for taking swift action, finally, but the damage has been done and the organization looks foolish from top to bottom. It also reflects poorly on the NFL as a whole since the initial penalty was so paltry.
Unfortunately, Rice is still sitting on $25 million at the end of the day, so I’m sure he’s not too distraught. Hopefully that will help cover his wife’s hospital bills for post-concussion symptoms.