footage of ray rice knocking out his fiancee on an elevator was leaked today. not that anyone should need video evidence, but i’m sure for some it will make things even clearer than they already are — the NFL irrevocably botched their handling of this situation.
it’s had my blood boiling for some time, watching the whole disgusting story unfold and watching people turn a blind eye for their love of pro football. as i said to a friend recently, explaining my reason for declining their fantasy football invitation, the NFL has never exactly been a beacon of ethics but with this case they grossly under-appreciated how serious an issue domestic violence is — what it means for women and what it should mean to men. it isn’t just about this incident. our collective response to this very public case serves as our response to all victims of domestic violence, most of whom we’ll never know about.
sure, they updated their domestic violence policy, thanks to the uproar following rice’s 2 game ban. but the fact that players can petition for reinstatement after one year of their “lifetime ban” makes it pretty illegitimate in my eyes, as it’s easy to imagine how that caveat would be exploited should an extremely valuable player be the offender.
clearly, this should have never happened, and whether the video should have been released is in itself a problem-ridden issue. however this entire situation does provide an opportunity to raise the bar on our expectations for
athletes everyone. so far that hasn’t been the case [see: lenient penalties and victim-blaming] but maybe with enough pressure that can change.
i was not a huge pro football fan to begin with, though i did watch with groups from time to time. but now, for me, there will no longer be any participation whatsoever in any NFL-related activities. i realize that there are plenty of innocent guys in the game who are just playing a sport they love, but giving any support to the institution itself puts me at a moral impasse.
[puppy bowl it is]
ETA: the ravens have now terminated rice’s contract. so keeping him on the roster was ok until everyone saw exactly what happened? do better.