Just a few hours after TMZ released video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice cold-cocking his fiancee, dragging her out of an elevator and then plopping her on the ground face-first, the NFL team summarily released Rice.
Good for the Ravens, I guess.
A few observations:
1. The NFL was roundly criticized for giving Rice a two-game suspension following the incident right after Valentine’s Day, no less. It really looks stupid now. The policy has since changed to a six-game suspension for a first offense and a potential lifetime ban for the second. Those are good changes, but they come after the horse left the barn and galloped away. The league already had a major public relations problem with its handling of concussions, but this is an issue dealing with society as a whole — not just a barometer of the football culture.
2. The chances of this kind of incident coming to light in this manner just a few years ago — say, 10 or 15 years — are extremely remote. You would likely have rumors and allegations, but the prospects of having something of substance like the TMZ video would have been few and far between. Which makes you wonder how many other athletes and entertainers (I choose them because they are in the public eye and most of the rest of us aren’t) got away with similar behavior.
3. The NFL says it didn’t receive the video until today. Did the Ravens have a copy? If not, releasing Rice now makes all the sense in the world. If they did…this is the cynic in me talking, but to wait this long before any action and to wait for the video to show before making a decision is flat-out appalling. Knowing the NFL’s reputation, it would come as little surprise of Roger Goodell or one of his high-ranking administrators “urged” the Ravens to drop Rice once the video went viral. Here’s hoping that urging wasn’t needed.
4. Rice stated after the incident came to light it was the worst mistake of his life and he wanted to “own it.” He’s doing exactly that without his NFL income, and he’ll be doing so with a whole lot of endorsements knocked out as well.
Arguments happen, but there is no place in humanity for what TMZ showed in that Atlantic City elevator on Feb. 15.