Over the past couple of days I have seen a couple of disturbing videos connected to the National Football League. The first is what is known as the second half of the New England Patriots loss to the Miami Dolphins. It was, for lack of a better term, pathetic. As Patriots fan we have come to expect better from our team. We didn't get it on Sunday.
The second video is the one that has taken the nation by storm. It is the clip from an Atlantic City Hotel/Casino elevator involving, now former, Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice punching is wife (then fiancée) in the face an knocking her out. It is the most disgusting displays of male behavior towards a woman I have ever seen. How can Rice justify that behavior in any scenario? I was always taught to never lay your hands on a woman, no matter the circumstance. As a husband and a father of two girls, this video makes me very angry.
When the incident happened Rice was suspended for two games by Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL. TWO GAMES! Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos was suspended double that for a DUI of alcohol. Wes Welker, also of the Broncos was suspended four games for testing positive for amphetamines. Josh Gordon, of the Cleveland Browns was suspended for a year for a repeat offense of marijuana, which is legal is some states. So the message that the NFL sent was that smoking weed is worse than beating your wife. That is a good message to send to your fan base.
That isn't even the worst part of this disturbing display of cover up. Goodell and the Baltimore Ravens, on Monday, claimed they hadn't seen the video until that day. I'm calling shenanigans and I think the general public tends to agree with me. However, following that statement, the Atlantic City Police Department stated that the NFL had access to those tapes and did not ask for them, kind of in a chest thumping manner, as if to say they were much better at this than anybody. Hardly.
These events just show the ineptness of all parties involved. Ray Rice and his wife for protecting the paycheck rather than the truth. The NFL, NFLPA and the Ravens for being absolutely wrong in the way they investigated this, handled it, and then defended Rice's character. Considering how quickly and vigilantly they handle suspensions in their league for off field incidences, they completely dropped the ball on this one and this could leave a constant noose around Goodell's neck.
The interesting statistic to come out of this is that Rice has spent zero time behind bars. So, for the Atlantic City PD and the DA to make comments that they always had the tapes and they were available to the NFL to investigate, why didn't they use them? Rice was never charged for anything shown in the footage. They evidently didn't need his wife to press charges. Admitting that they had the tapes and seen them all along just shows the incompetence of those parties and they opened themselves up to probably the biggest criticism of all.
I must admit that I am a huge fan of the NFL and that is mainly because they have made it entertaining week in and week out. That is largely due to what Goodell has done. But I am not backing him on this, not one bit. I will continue to watch games and I will continue to buy into the NFL product but if Goodell loses his job over this I will not say one word in his defense. I have been against him from the start on this and I will continue to be. He has prided himself in being executioner and chief in all disciplinary matters in the league and the one that should have been an easy touchdown, and he fumbled at the goal line. He needs to explain why.
I am a believer that public figures do not owe explanations for their misgivings, at least not to me. But in this instance, I am owed one. I had bought in to the new NFL and I loved the product and kept coming back. So, why now, are you going against everything you preach? Please explain.
If you don't take it from me, ask my wife.