Ray Rice should teach us punishment is reflective of time taken

There is a scene in Big Daddy where Jon Stewart’s character walks into the court room to say he is Sonny’s (Adam Sandler) lawyer causing the judge to bark “he has enough lawyers,” to which Stewart intones that another voice is not going to put too much carbon dioxide in the room. I feel like that as I foray into the Ray Rice debacle.

Reality aside, Stewart winds up being a major cog in Sonny’s defense, namely that he would not press charges as the father. Myself, I defer to Elizabeth Merrill and Jason Whitlock.

But first, having Deion Sanders talk domestic dispute, even if he acknowledges his connections to such allegations, is in poor taste by CBS and the NFL Network, irrespective of his ties to the Ravens (he played with them at the end of his career). Secondly, I feel I have to state my first thoughts before I comment on others. I was surprised Rice got suspended in the first place. I figured it would be bypassed, that is was a public relations nightmare not a considered crime.

There was the Warren Moon incident of 1995 and the blasé Rod Smith dispute in 2000, where the victim recanted the tales of physicality and Smith was fined a paltry $25,000.00. In fact, it was conditional in that if he followed his probation guidelines he would not have to pay it. Furthermore, Smith was “happy” with the decision.

It is not that far off from the Rice incident. Janay Rice, the victim, pleaded leniency on behalf of her abuser – fiancée, husband or other — he is still her abuser, but Rice spoke of “owning” what happened. Well, now, the tape possesses him. This petri dish of violence bore a moment where I blinked regarding a punishment. I had no desire to view the visuals of a punch we have already seemingly known about. It is like when a celebrity comes out as gay, but it seems to have been a poorly kept secret.

My wont feelings toward watching the tape leads me to Jason Whitlock, who rightfully called for the video to be shut down. The point was made, and Janay Rice was dead on in saying she is being forced to relive, to repeatedly endure a night of travesty, a moment of loss she cannot get back at the behest of a man she has vowed to stand by for life.

That Rice may have spit on or at her, apparently inciting her further, is a dash of repugnancy to a wicked witch’s brew steeped in alcohol and raw emotions. Consequently, having Floyd Mayweather defend Ray Rice by stating the suspension should not have been extended, due to all parties already being made aware of said punch was not in Ray’s best interest, even if he did not solicit “Money” to do so. Additionally, Merrill posited for the current hysteria surrounding the video for the same reason.

It is like having your mom as a reference; she may be honest, but there is no denying her motives may be skewed to her and your favor. And painting a picture that things were not what they were made out to be, done by both Sanders and Mayweather, undermines the point: it can still be abuse. If you punch someone in the stomach just because there is no mark does not mean an assault has not occurred. I am not suggesting that is what happened in either case.

With that said, Ray Rice is untouchable. His fault or not – and it is his – and whether or not Janay fanned the figurative flames, she is still a victim, and the tape bears her out as a conspicuous victim, another point made by Merrill. I was curious how the tape would affect her. Has she seen it? Would she watch it now? Would her feelings change in the face of this tape? How would her family react, namely would they push for the dissolution of her union? She reacted like that of someone beaten, defending her attacker and wanting to forget it. There are times when abuse is an isolated incident. Let us hope that is the case here.

That the Players Union has been so quiet regarding Rice, and any available options he may have, if any, speaks volumes. It is indefensible, but here is where I want to make my main point. I agree with Elizabeth Merrill that an indefinite suspension was in order when the tape was released publically. The same happened with Donald Sterling, where raw emotions caused a kneejerk reaction, when it should have been made with a relaxed temperament. If you go back, and the emotions still rile you up, well, there is a starting point.

That is very much a scaled down view, but there is due process. And the same goes for Roger Goodell. To NOW, the National Organization for Women, stop. Robert Mueller III has a sterling record as the former runner of the FBI, so allow him to work. Goodell will face his comeuppance and there is no question it is deserved, but if the Civil Rights Movement showed us anything, it is from the depths of ugly comes the progress of pretty.

You cannot just revel in the dirt found you have to clean up the mess also, which invariably means something is getting thrown out.

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