The NFL’s Joining of the Media’s Hypocrisy on Ray Rice

ray riceI’m bothered by domestic violence. I don’t see how a man can assault a woman. I understand the frustrations and ire that can occur between couples but for a man to let it go beyond harsh words into a physical assault is something I can’t grasp. Unfortunately, it happens more than I care to think about. Usually the starter to such a happening is alcohol or some other substance that changes a person’s ability to exercise self-control.

That domestic violence happens at all is something that should concern us. What bothered me most about Ray Rice’s horrible assault on his fiancée Janay is how it has been handled by the media. Out of the blue the media flipped out over it. The commonplace was made into something esoteric, the mundane magnified to something extraordinary. His assault gave the media a “gang-up” time when all take their shot, nary a dissenting word is heard discouraging the mad rush, all the running together feels good, and then everything goes on as before except for the person, or persons, trampled under.

So it is over the past week with the NFL. Reading the media coverage you’d believe the initials stand for the National Felon League. The felons seem to be in the Commissioner’s office, clustered around the heartless billionaire owners, cleverly cozying up with the coaches, but mostly the over 1,500 helmeted men who lurk about on the playing fields who are aided and abetted by the million or so who gather weekly to cheer them on. Perhaps that is why our police have become so militarized because of this ever growing criminal enterprise.

What was once a remarkable business is written about lately as if it were a sleezy, dark enterprise found at the end of a stanky littered alley. But like all stampedes the dust will soon settle. Sports writers will fondly recall how they rose to the occasion during the frenzy and yearn for another thrilling ride. The calm and boredom of normalcy will return.

My favorite example of the recent media Kumbaya was by a woman sports writer. She tells us she is a fan of violent sports including the NFL. Not only that, she is a victim of domestic violence.  She tells us we “embrace” the violence in the sport that the NFL promotes. (I guess it means we like the games.) She suggests we are “shocked when NFL players bring brutality to their families.” She decries Ray Rice’s slugging of his wife Janay. She tells us she has “compassion and kindness” for such women. (As if the rest of us don’t.)

She ends noting: “The fans want a sports world full of violence, they want players smashing each other, making each other bleed. They want a sports war on the field. At what cost? Spare me the outrage about how it’s shocking that these athletes can take their rage to another arena outside the one that pays them. The real question is: Why wouldn’t they? When it comes to money and product, the blood thirsty always get what they want. And since you reap what you sow, we are their partners in crime.”

Such pap! She wants us to feel responsible for men assaulting women because we like to watch NFL games or boxing matches. I’d be willing to wager $10,000 (of Mitt’s money) that there is much less domestic violence among men who engage in violent sports than among those who avoid it. One robin does not make a spring; one outrageous incident of domestic violence does not turn the NFL into a batterers convention.

Domestic violence is an ongoing nasty situation affecting many thousands of women each year. It is and should be condemned but to suggest that it occurs because men engage in violent sports is to trivialize it. It is too important of an issue to isolate it like that. It takes our attention away from the great majority of men who assault women and the need to address that issue.

Ray Rice for his momentary inexplicable brutality against a woman that he will marry in an incident that is unrelated to his job has been unfairly scapegoated because of the media madness. The NFL felt compelled to utter profound inanities while continuing to do what it does best which is to entertain its millions of fans while pocketing their money. It tries to pacify the media mob by throwing Rice to it as the Caesars did the Christians in the Colosseum. With each passing week these media lions will soon be satiated as the games get more exciting and their outrage will diminish and those who have most loudly condemned Rice will forget about him as they get caught up in writing about their favorite sport.

Rice made a bad mistake probably due to demon rum. That does not mean he should be barred from the NFL just because the sports media decides to pretend something new has happened. Like all repentent sinners, he should be brought back into the fold.

21 thoughts on “The NFL’s Joining of the Media’s Hypocrisy on Ray Rice

  1. Lost in the shuffle is the video before the couple entered the elevator, where the woman was hitting the man. It appears that Ray Rice was not the initiator of the domestic violence, but is condemned for responding to domestic violence with domestic violence. Ray Rice should have not lowered himself to her level. He should be aware that there is a double standard in domestic violence.

    1. Ed:

      The elevator video showed that the woman came at him but it is still no excuse for him to hit her. No man should strike a woman. That is not a double standard but a basic truth and if he does hit a woman then he deserves to be punished. My problem is taking away the guys livelihood for his big mistake in hitting her. I suggest we have to distinguish between someone who happens to fly off the handle once and strike out which is still wrong; and between the guy who does it more than once. The latter I have no sympathy for.

      1. Since his source of income is her source of income, depriving him of his source of income deprives her and their children. This punishment appears to pander and appease others that demand action and for the NFL “to do something”, rather than to effect positive change in behavior.

        Teaching both husband and wife to improve their skills in conflict resolution, problem solving and response to non-life-threatening aggression will benefit them, their family and society at large. This is not a quick fix, so will appear unsatisfactory to many. They must learn to deal with that.

        1. Ed:

          Good points. It should be dealt with over the long term and not with quick fixes designed to appease with the hope that the outcry will go down and they can go back to business as usual.

  2. The latest moral panic.
    And now the mob is howling for Goodell’s scalp.
    “What did he know and when” questions usually end badly.

    1. Jeff:

      It’s only going to get worse. I read some senator has jumped on Goodell. One newpaper reported “the national furor increased.” I suppose with this furor no one went to the NFL games today. The big proble will be the cowardly owners who always want to pretend they are purer than snow may now panic. They should sit back, relax, count their money, and let the storm pass. They’ll be some other problem in a week or so to get the media all worked up.

  3. ” Like a wolf on the fold ” as Byron phrased it. For a man whose living as a Prosecutor was predicated on criminal commerce of many such ” inexplicable acts of brutality ” and their carnage, whether the actor was possessed or not by the ” demon rum ” , you are unusually lenient in view. Rice’s quick marriage is transparent certainly in the circumstance and if you ask for a show of hands in any NFL stadium of who is not bothered by domestic violence, or anywhere else, not one will be raised. It takes two to tango as the expression goes, but Rice is a lucky bastard that he did not seriously injure her. It would be interesting to see you catechized Matt by a couple of Domestic Violence Advocates on your old field of glory, the Norfolk County Court. Sometimes it is better just to remain silent on subjects where your personal motives and integrity are not at all in question, but your judgment is. Zero Tolerance is the rubric too often invoked with no common sense involved by Society in many instances, but here, with Rice, it should apply. Again, he is one lucky bastard.

    1. John:

      No one is justifying domestic violence. You should reread the article. You seem to run with the media when you suggest “Rice’s quick marriage is transparent.” And, as a person working in the criminal justice system you must know alcohol does affect a person’s judgment to the extent as a recent SJC court again noted its longstanding view that it must be considered as a mitigating factor in murder cases.

      The rate of domestic violence declined 63 percent, from 13.5 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 1994 to 5.0 per 1,000 in 2012. I’m sure if I could find statistics going back further they would show a slow but steady decline since the late 1970s or early 1980s. It was during that time that the district attorney’s office I worked for established the first domestic violence unit in the state, and one of the first if not the first in the country. I worked closely with the attorneys and advocates in those programs who were in the forefront behind the creation of laws addressing the problem, advocating for the victims, and setting up shelters and safe houses.

      We can have zero tolerance which means a perpetrator of such an incident should recognize it is wrong and the punishment should reflect the severity of the crime. A one time push should not be equated with a one time punch; nor should a one time push be equated with a long, escalating pattern of pushings. The evidence before me was that Ray Rice struck Janay Palmer once – viewing the videa it appeared his whole reaction during the incident was one cause by alcoholic confusion. I just don’t think banning the man from the sport for life so that the owners can pretend they now care about domestic violence is appropriate; it is not something new in the league. Just because it reared its ugly head in the elevator video and the media is in an uproar you don’t pretend you never knew of its ongoing existence by throwing Rice to the wolves. It’s a long standing problem. It should have been addressed years ago and punishe more severely. But, as you know, the sports heroes get passes. Take Aaron Hernandez, why did it take so long to bring murder charges against him in Boston? Were they giving him a pass until he got accused of murdering another guy. Don’t you think the NFL knows all this is happening – they’re supposed to be on top of all of it but they choose to let it slide under the table until it is openly disclosed then they beat up one guy. It’s a repeat of the John Connolly rogue agent situation. I don’t like gang ups.

  4. You are walking in a mine field Matt 🙂 …. Ray Rice is a professional athlete … a bruising NFL running back … his then girlfriend Janela looked about 130 pounds wet. The elevator footage reveals he clipped her short and close as soon as they entered the elevator right @ the button panel. She then turns and if a man it might be OK to state ” came after him ” , but she was not a man responding to attack, she was a clearly shocked, bewildered and frightened 130 pound woman. The elements you choose to present your case for this being some sort of singular mundane event are disturbing. Just as you can only conjecture to the mirth of any who knew him that Jimmy Bulger had an average IQ, and expect people to believe other than that his IQ departed not in much standard deviation from his demonstrably publicly briilliant younger brother, for better or worse, neither can you conjecture with any credibility that Rice’s ” Robin that doesn’t make a Spring ” punch was the only one he ever sprung on her. For the sake of a curious argument defending what is indefensible you may choose to do so, but domestic violence statistics argue strongly against your ” It’s a one off ” attitude towards Rice’s actions. It only took once for Jared Remy to flip out and butcher the mother of his child. Again, you are in a minefield. Couching your argument in the guise of Media/NFL Owner hypocrisy being a central issue trivializes and de-rates the issue of domestic violence. Rice is a punk. What do you think his IQ is ??? … Don’t answer that … we know that without actual test results in hand any speculation on your part about his intelligence would be the basest sort of yellow journalism that you consistently decry in orhers here in your …. The Trial Of Whitey Bulger … blog.

    1. John:

      I call things as I see them whether a minefield or not. I know little about Ray Rice and would not call him a punk. I’ve been around too long not to recognize that people do things under the influence of booze that are totally out of character for them. I’m sure you are familiar with that also. The only evidence I have seen is that Ray Rice did this on one occasion. To suggest that he did it once means he is an ongoing batterer is plainly wrong. I deal with facts that I know.

      I judge Whitey on the writings he has sent from the prison that I have read. He appears at best as average intelligence. He was a disciplined vile criminal who was involved in murdering women and other defenseless people. There is nothing in his life’s work that suggests to me he has a high IQ.

      Jared Remy had a documented history of battering women and drug abuse. He was a bully. Rice is a disciplined athlete playing at a high professional level. It is not I that trivializes domestic violence since I know of its horror so I hardly think pointing out the hypocrisy of the owners who pretend they have suddenly discovered its existence does that.

  5. To what extent did the media contribute to Rice’s misbehavior? Doesn’t ESPN have an employee who stated on the air that he wanted to punch a Black woman? Was Rice affected by that statement? Didn’t they create a hostile environment? Didn’t the justice system fail? How could the cops or DA give Rice a pass? Had he gotten 90 days in jail and a batterers program he could have accepted his punishment and been re instated later. The bag job in the Court hurt his cause.

    1. NC:

      I don’t think the media had much to do with Rice’s behavior. I do suggest that demon rum had a lot to do with it. There’s no doubt the justice system gave Rice a pass as you know there are lots of passes given to star athletes.

      You are right had he been treated properly by the DA then much of what has happened since never would have occurred. He would have taken his punishment and done his time.

      I think the NFL tried to slide this one by. It got caught. Rather than accepting it did wrong it then punished Rice even more. Now it will look for others to scapegoat. So those stars who got a break in the past because of their status will now get trampled upon because of it.

      The big question is will the owners have to sacrifice Goodell in order to keep the sponsors happy. If I’m correct and demon rum is responsible, shouldn’t the owners refuse all those Budweiser advertisements? Did you ever read that on Super Bowl Sunday there are more incidents of domestic violence than on any other day of the year. Is the NFL to blame for that? Should the Super Bowl be terminated?

  6. ” — they’re supposed to be on top of it all but they just let it slide until it is openly disclosed and then they beat up on one guy ” … Matt : I do not like gang ups either. John Connolly was no more a rogue agent than James Bulger was a rogue gangster. He was a gangster. Like myself you are familiar with the fact that in that stratum gangsters kill other gangsters. This is vile. It is also as old as humankind. It is curious always to me the moral reasoning we produce to decide which murders are vile and others … less so. Ten days ago Hammas, a group whose violence you robustly defend for reasons I understand, but disagree with, took 40 bound and blindfolded Gazans into a main Gaza city intersection. They waited for rush hour to peak and a large crowd to gather before they shot them all in the head. The Hammas gunmen were clad foot to pate in black with black scarved faces ; the usual Mideast terrorist chic ensemble terrorists are ” wearing ” also in Syria now as they saw off people’s heads to a horrified, but strangely enthralled worldwide audience. Well … One man’s freedom fighter. … etc.
    There is a black satchel on the floor Matt. Stencilled on it is the name Whitey Bulger. Alongside it is another stencilled with the name John Connolly. And these are some heavy satchels. Each is filled with all the misdeeds of all the actors in a Mob/Justice Dept./Local Law/Society/Media/ Court … matrix … that somehow conjured up these two …. Super Bad Guys …. for a horrified … and strangely enthralled audience. It is a hypnotically induced trance state. Will we ever wake up ??? … Language is powerful and hypnotic and its hypnotic power is thoroughly employed in service of Trance by our leftist intelligentsia, Media, and political ” Leaders.” ergo the dissimulation of not naming the War on ISIS as a War. It is connotation vs. denotation. We can all see what … It …. is. What we call …It. … is arbitrary linguistic and symboligical.
    Matt , all your points are crisply made and well taken. It is James Bulger as Symbol versus who he really is and what he actually did that is the 800 pound gorilla in the Halls of Justice. As to his Billy Sunday epistles from jail revealing anything it is a measure of what is his very high intelligence that as always Whitey reveals nothing . Until he chooses .

    1. John:

      Good comment. A fine explanation of what has happened. I like the description of the sachels on the floor. I’ve found as I learned more about the Whitey saga more and more misinformation. It only causes me to pause and wonder how much misinformation is floating around about other matters that I believe.

  7. Matt : A quick note. Actual research revealed that the Super Bowl Sunday hyper-battering statistic was an absolute canard ; it became a wildfire urban myth promulgated by feminists for their own political reasons. The Cause, addressing a real problem of domestic violence is unimpeachably just. Unfortunately a welter of politically driven stuff from a liberal Democratic bloc that ignores documented and numerous incidents of misogyny by Democratic pols from Bubba down while shrieking about the improbable “

    1. John:

      You are right about Super Bowl Sunday. It’s said that domestic violence is an ongoing problem that happens on every day of the week. I found this: “On a deeper level, experts say domestic violence has its roots in a sexist culture. “It comes from the belief that one gender has more power than the other,” Southworth says, referring to the idiom about “who wears the pants in the family,” for example. “Why does anybody need to wear pants? Why can’t we all wear pants?” she says. “I believe when we have completely annihilated that concept out of our sort of collective cultural experience, we will have really ended domestic violence.”

      Rather than wearing pants, suppose we all wore skirts? Do you think that might do it.

  8. * Damn edit box !!! ….So … Cont’d….

    …. improbable ” Republican War On Women, ” just detracts from the debate about a real and very thorny problem. I marvel at the silence of NOW and American feminists on the implications present and future of Sharia Law for Women’s Rights worldwide ; Ditto for the LGBT Community. A bigger and more flexible birch switch for wifely discipline is, among other outrages to women, prescribed by Sharia in the former case ; In the latter, LGBT, a communal stoning to death of the Gay person is the gleefully recommended and historically exercised remedy. Makes ya’ wondah’ don’t it ??? What a disconnect between rhetoric and reality !!!

    Matt, would be interested in your thoughts on basis of Mr.O’Brien / Liz Tavares / Bill Burke appeal of Probation verdict. Their lawyers maintain Judge Young’s Socratic approach of accepting numerous detailed questions from jurors in an ongoing dialectic effectively robbed the defendants of the benefit of a juror remote from any influence on their judgment other than their own good lights. Jeffrey Denner, Elizabeth Tavares’ Counsel wrote, ” The practice here essentially transformed the petit jury into a Grand Jury. ” … Do you agree with this, Matt ?

  9. Matt :

    Let’s just remember oulde son that Ms.Southworth considers herself a better man than you or me . In the early eighties I saw a cabaret troupe for an entire Saturday night revelry at the Mideast Cafe where I was a privileged customer having reached into my pants pocket so often to drop much money on my great joint . The cabaret was driven by a band named : The Archbishop’s Enema Fetish !!! Your provocative soul searching question brought it back to mind somehow. I can counsel you gently through this to this extent : Much of the flowing finery draping our church prelates is a kind of ” drag. ” Uniforms are a kind of drag. You get the point, Matt. What I protest is you getting ” dragged ” into Ms.Southworth’s fallacious argument. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a dress Matt. However I would prefer not to see a Marine like yourself and ask the question : Matt, Who are you wearing today ??? You minx 🙂

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