Ray Rice is a running back for the NFL team the Baltimore Ravens. He is now married to one Janay Palmer. On February 15th, one month before they got married, Ray Rice took a swing at Janay in an elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino on Atlantic City, knocking her out cold.
TMZ recently released a video of the incident (not for the faint of heart).
After she fell against the rail on the side of the elevator and then to the ground, Ray Rice dragged her out as the door opened, took her shoes off, and attempted to prop her upright – which of course failed.
Ray Rice’s punishment? A two game suspension. Not sure how severe that is? A player for the Browns, Josh Gordon, was suspended for one year…for smoking weed. This should put the NFL’s priorities into perspective.
In May, Sports-Kings.com reported: “The Ravens running back was charged with third-degree aggravated assault for the incident, but was accepted into a one-year intervention program for first-time offenders that will scrub the charge from his record and allow him to avoid a trial.”
What’s worse is that during a press conference in May, Ray Rice’s wife actually apologized for “her role in the incident,” saying she “regretted it.”
What is she regretting exactly? Getting worked up during an argument and being knocked out by a single punch from a professional athlete? Why is this woman being shamed into publicly admitting some sort of a mistake? Similar victim blaming took place when Christy Mack was hospitalized by her ex-MMA fighter ex-boyfriend, but at least he is now facing over 20 criminal charges.
As for Ray Rice and Janay? They are now married, and there are no further disciplinary actions being taken towards Ray. Why is this?
While the NFL has pledged to become stricter on its domestic violence policies, it doesn’t change the message being sent by the way they handled this incident. Knock out a woman if you want, but don’t you dare smoke any weed. See you in two games.
Some people on Facebook are even defending Ray Rice, one comment made in a discussion I was part of stated:
I agree with you domestic violence is a bad thing. I think Ray is completely sorry for what happened. He’s a, great guy. He just made a Big mistake. Lets not condemn a person for the rest of his life.
A great guy? Since when does a “great guy” throw haymakers at the woman he is supposed to be in love with? Or any woman at all? Or for that matter, any man, either? This is not an incident that just happens out of nowhere. Caring, loving people in healthy relationships do not suddenly get into boxing matches with their significant other. This is an example of complete denial in terms of a serious problem that cannot simply be dismissed by defending the perpetrator as a “great guy.” The very idea of people following this thought process makes me cringe.
It gets worse.
Back in July, before this video was released, plenty of people came to Ray Rice’s defense on Twitter, bringing about even more victim blaming. Here are just two examples:
Uh, penalty for what?!
Even women seemed okay with his punishment, as long as it doesn’t hurt “us” this season (you know, because these people play for the Ravens).
The light punishment clearly sent the message to the public that domestic violence deserves a slap on the wrist and no further legal action. Not to mention – why is this just about football? Where is the outrage about what happened here? Why is nobody mentioning Janay’s name?
This man still has fans?!
By prioritizing games that people get paid millions of dollars to play and putting serious issues like abuse and violence under the rug, society is blatantly stating its priorities. Don’t take away our favorite athletes from us, we don’t care what they do in their private life.
We should all be outraged. Outraged at Ray Rice. Outraged at the NFL. Outraged at our peers who minimize such serious issues. And maybe even outraged at ourselves for not being more vocal about this.
The worst part is, this happens every day to women all over the world. Every day. Often times it is never heard about or spoken about, but it is devastating to millions, and we let it continue. We let it continue because of a lack of compassion. A lack of understanding. A lack of willingness to stare a problem in the face in order to solve it, and it needs to stop.
There should be no discussion needed about how serious domestic abuse is, but apparently that’s not the case. We need to stop accepting it from our “role models.” We need to stop accepting it from people who get paid millions of dollars a year. We need to stop accepting it from our next door neighbor who we know mistreats their spouse. We need to stop accepting it in first, second, and third world countries. And perhaps most of all, we need to stop accepting it from our partners.
Mainstream cases of domestic abuse against women like Janay Palmer, Christy Mack, and Rihanna – are not just about these women. They are about your sister, mother, cousin, and friend. They are about every woman, because acceptance of violence towards one is acceptance of violence towards all.
I, for one, have had enough.
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