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NFL Must Come Down Hard on Ray Rice after Domestic Assault Arrest

If the NFL wants to get serious about cleaning up its image, a lengthy suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice would definitely send a strong message.

NFL Must Come Down Hard on Ray Rice after Domestic Assault Arrest
Photo courtesy Keith Allison via Creative Commons license.

Domestic assault perpetrated against women is a crime that’s despicable in any form. This past weekend, the NFL saw one of its signature running backs involved in a domestic assault case that was disturbing in nature, and it’s high time that they made an example of the player involved.

According to Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun, Ravens running Ray Rice and his fiancée, Janay Palmer, were both arrested by Atlantic City police officers on Sunday after the two engaged in a physical altercation at the Revel Casino on the boardwalk.

The incident was recorded by the casino’s extensive video surveillance and turned over to police. On Wednesday, TMZ obtained video footage showing Rice dragging Palmer out of an elevator at the casino. In the video, it appears that Palmer is unconscious.

In addition, Mike Hellgren of WJZ obtained the summons filed against Rice by the Atlantic City Police Department.

The words “rendering her unconscious” were more than enough to disgust me.

Even more disturbing was that Rice’s attorney, Andrew Alperstein, claimed that the incident was “a very minor physical altercation.”

Rendering a woman unconscious doesn’t even come close to qualifying as a minor altercation.

According to Deadspin.com, a witness described Rice as hitting Palmer "like he punched a guy, knocked down and dragged her out of the elevator by his feet.”

How exactly is that minor in any form?

In an even more despicable spin to the story, Josh Thompson of Lohud.com interviewed a PR person who said that Rice’s reputation shouldn’t be tarnished by the incident.

“I think Ray has a lot of goodwill in the bank,” said Marty Appel, who started Marty Appel Public Relations in 1998. “He generally seems to have a good reputation, so I think this is something people can easily put behind them.”

Um, sorry Marty, but any of Rice’s goodwill went flying out the window the minute he rose his hand to strike his fiancée.

Thompson’s article essentially included quotes from several people in different industries who said they would continue to support Rice despite this “unfortunate incident.”

Someone is going to have to explain to me how any sane individual could view Rice’s actions as anything but completely deplorable. Thompson interviewed Stephen D. Horton, executive director of the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority, who said that he had a broader picture of Rice as an individual, and that he knows Rice.

It’s painfully obvious that he, and many others, don’t know Rice. Violence against a women isn’t ever acceptable. It doesn’t matter how much good one has done in the community, or how much time he gives back to charitable causes. Once you strike a woman, you’re an evil predator. No amount of PR can undo the damage that Rice delivered with one blow.

If the NFL has any stones whatsoever, they’ll make an example of Rice if he’s convicted in a court of law. Police reports and surveillance clearly show that Palmer was culpable in committing assault against Rice as well, but it’s about turning the other cheek, not striking out in anger. And in that regard, Rice failed miserably.

A suspension of Rice would help serve notice to other players in the NFL, and to any male involved in a relationship, that violence of any kind against a women is never the answer and never acceptable.

Using Rice as an example would be a good start. 

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