NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants you to believe that the punishment handed down to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rick is severe. Don’t believe him. The league has possibly never seen a bigger slap on the wrist.
Goodell handed down a 2-game suspension for Rice after the running back beat his fiance in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino. So, if you are keeping score at home it reads like this. Rice pounds a perceived loved one into submission, beats her unconscious in an elevator and is suspended for two games. If you get free tattoos in college you are suspended for 5-games (Terrelle Pryor.) If you get busted using Adderall you get a 4-game suspension. If you get busted for smoking pot twice you will get a 4-game suspension. And, if you smoke pot for a third time you will get suspended for an entire season (i.e. Josh Gordon.) What the hell is wrong with this league ?
The punishment was announced this morning and there is already a stunned reaction from fans of the game. This morning Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said, “ He’s (Rice) a heck of a guy. He’s done everything right since. He made a mistake. He’s gonna have to pay a consequence. It’s good for kids to understand it works that way. That’s how it works. That’s how it should be.” So John, this is a GOOD example for the kids. “Hey kids, beat your girlfriend, leave her a huddled mess and get a minimal punishment from the league ?” Is that what you want the kids to learn ? You want to teach them that if you harm another person the punishment is not as severe as punishing yourself by smoking the green bud ?
If you are outraged, you should be. I don’t care what Ray Rice has done in the after-math of the incident. I don’t care whether he has apologized, whether he has donated money to women’s shelters, whether he has spent months doing community service. I don’t care. The league that is supposed to set the example, just let every kid, pro and amateur know, they don’t consider that abuse of women that big of a deal. There is really no other way to view this.
Roger Goodell in his ultimate authority can hand down any type of punishment he sees fit. This has been a huge point made by the NFL Players Association as they have taken issue with several of his rulings. Today, even the most hardened NFL player has to be looking at this with eyebrows raised.
It’s a shameful day for Goodell, it’s a shameful day for the shield.