July 25th, 2014
The NFL and the Ravens Can Do Better
This past February, Ray Rice beat his fiancée until she was unconscious in an Atlantic City hotel elevator. The video of that incident, which is widely available on the internet, is shocking and disgusting. Despite the horrific and unacceptable nature of Mr. Rice's deliberate and intentional acts, the NFL suspended him for just two games; a mere slap on the wrist. For a league that is so image obsessed, this decision is baffling. There is never any excuse for violence against women. Ray Rice holds himself out as an NFL tough guy, an image the NFL itself is happy to promote. Now here that tough guy is, doing one of the most cowardly things I can imagine. What message is the NFL sending to its fans when it basically condones such activity?
As bad as the NFL is, though, the Baltimore Ravens and their coach, Jim Harbaugh, are much, much worse. This morning on ESPN, I heard Mr. Harbaugh say the following
about his star player's assault: "It's not a big deal, it's just part of the process. There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray. He's a heck of a guy." He's kidding, right? Beating your fiancée unconscious is "not a big deal"? It's just a "mistake" instead of a purposeful decision to hit somebody until they can't move? Mr. Harbaugh should be ashamed of himself.
At least he told us what he really thinks about this. Just so we all know, Mr. Harbaugh and the NFL stand "with Ray Rice." Not with his fiancée. Not with all of the women around the country and the world who are subject to domestic violence at unacceptable levels. Not with our mothers, wives, and daughters. They stand with Ray Rice. Just a thought to keep in your mind the next time you settle in for an NFL game.