Why The NFL Dropped The Ball On Ray Rice’s Domestic Abuse Case


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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.

Ray Rice, Janay Rice

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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  1. Satin Sheet Diva on September 8, 2014 at 11:28 am

    As a woman, and one who grew up as a tom-boy, I have mixed feelings when it comes to situations like this. In NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, do I condone, advocate or support domestic violence. I do however support personal responsibility. As a kid, I was taught that boys aren’t “supposed” to hit girls and the unspoken lesson that no matter what I did to a boy, he wasn’t supposed to hit me.

    Yeah, well, we were kids rough housing around the neighborhood and I wanted to be seen as just one of the guys. If we played tackle football, then I was prepared to be tackled in the same manner as which I was tackling anyone else. It brought me up quick to realize that I would receive as good as I gave. Made me very aware of how hard I went in, who not to play against, and to respect the guys I was with – quite often they’d purposefully go easier on me because they out weighed me by quite a bit, but they let me know it was out of respect not that they thought I was “weak”.

    From that interaction as a kid, I ultimately decided the real lesson should be to not put your hands on anyone else, especially when you’re angry, unless you were prepared to get back as good as you got.

    Women should not be able to “get away” with physically abusive behavior without consequence. Humans (not just athletes) have a limit to the amount of abuse they’ll take before lashing out. I’ve seen way too many women who felt it was well within their rights to hit a man during an argument with the confidence that he wouldn’t hit her back. And I’m sorry, I think that’s WRONG.

    It’s a thin line to be tread for sure in these cases. Men can be damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If he takes a woman’s physical abuse, he’s labeled as weak / a punk or worse. If he hits back, he’s a monster and she’s this poor victim.

    I say across the board – keep you hands to yourself; if you are so angry that you want to strike the other person, leave. You don’t need to be involved with anyone who triggers a violent response in you.

    • NC on September 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      As a man, all i could possibly say, was said here. Thank you.

    • Rachelle on September 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Well said and I fully agree being raised a lot like you. We have to realize though that although there are a lot of women who put themselves in bad situations knowingly, there are also still some that are just very naive and are preyed on by these types of men. We strong women need to help these women understand they don’t deserve to be treated like that EVER!

  2. Nicole on September 8, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I am so disgusted with some of the comments I am seeing on my twitter. Someone had the nerve to joke and write ” If a n**** punch you out then pick up your flip flops he don’t love you at all” along with some others saying how “tmz is out to ruin his life because they realized it now that the season has started”. Um? TMZ is out to ruin his life? He is responsible for his actions. She is an innocent here. I don’t agree that you should stay with someone after this happens and I believe that she is now responsible for putting herself in a violent relationship by staying with him but I also know that there are alot of factors involved once you get into an abusive relationship. Great article as usual 🙂

  3. […] After his menial punishment was handed down from the NFL people took to social media to relay their dismay and anger over the two week suspension. Many compared the incident with that of another player for the Browns, Josh Gordon, that was suspended for an entire year for smoking marijuana. […]

  4. Nancy Cokinda on September 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    The human dynamics of domestic abuse in the western world run very parallel to the practice of “stoning” women and girls in the Middle East, which continues today. If no one throws rocks, and no one condones it, then it can’t happen.The victim can’t physically “stone” herself. The society is complicit, by acting, participating, and supporting the behavior. Each feeds off the other. Watch “Zorba the Greek,” and you will see a similar set of dynamics. Anthony Quinn’s character is the only one who tries to stop the townspeople and protect the young widow. We believe we are a civilized,socially advanced culture, but we are still very primitive in so many ways.Read the play “The Lottery.”by Shirley Jackson for a “playbook” example (pun intended) of how an entire town (culture) justifies and carries out the group stoning of a young woman, Tessie. And of course, all carried out in a very civilized, polite manner, because we are a polite culture, even when justifying our brutality.

  5. Rachelle on September 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I FULLY agree with your statements above and am horrified and sickened by the lack of concern for REAL domestic abuse victims. Herein lies the issue and why it isn’t taken as seriously even when there’s a video showing the jerk doing something! Women have to take responsibility for themselves too and call out the liars who claim abuse to get more money in divorces or who marry these professional athletes when everyone knows they have a horrible track record of cheating on you or being abusive! Not everyone is the same but as a woman who has helped many a male friend out of nasty divorces, the domestic abuse card is used all the time when the woman actually has a loving, caring husband and excellent father.

    I’m not saying this to take away from the severity of what should happen if someone like Ray Rice really does abuse his significant other – just asking other women to stop defending bad behavior and lies that other women say for money and take more pride in your personal self worth and stop hanging around these jerks and support yourself and other women who have self worth. Don’t support the women who lie and give a bad name to a very serious issue out there and NEVER make an excuse as to why it happened to you or was your fault. Get away from anyone who even raises a hand at you because a real man will NEVER hit a woman even if he is provoked or hit himself.

  6. The Hungry Dog's Lair on September 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Goodell is gutless. I would have at least taken a season away from him.

  7. Rachelle on September 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Ironically, I just got an announcement from NFL.com that Ray Rice was released from the team today permanently! Guess they took it pretty seriously. Yay!

  8. […] Originally published at JamesMSama.com. […]

  9. mjmsprt40 on September 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    There shouldn’t be anybody hitting anybody in a domestic situation. My divorce came about as a result of domestic violence– she hit me– so it kinda cuts both ways.
    Ray Rice got away with this as long as he did because he’s Ray Rice. Any lesser mortal would have been serving time with the kind of evidence this fellow has against him, and deservedly so.

  10. Richard on September 8, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    The NFL definitely dropped the ball. The NFL should have a strict zero policy with this issue.

  11. Naicker, Jeeva J on September 9, 2014 at 1:59 am

    Sad..very sad..
    Why does she even still stay with this guy..
    And today people just don’t care..makes me cry..

  12. Anne Violette on September 11, 2014 at 12:01 am

    These do not look like two people in love. They are using each other like so many relationships these days.

  13. […] paid athlete. What you may or may not know about him is that he finds himself among the ranks of Ray Rice, Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver, and other professional athletes who have been brutally abusive towards […]

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