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Erin Summers

Goodell let us down with Rice suspension

Posted July 25

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season Thursday for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following his arrest for domestic violence in February.

The announcement from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell of a 2-game suspension was met with immediate backlash on social media as fans felt the punishment was weak considering the ‘crime’ – and I agree.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the circumstances surrounding Rice’s arrest, arrest records stated he struck his then-fiancé and video surfaced of Rice dragging her unconscious from a casino elevator in Atlantic City.

Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May. Under the personal conduct policy, the NFL can suspend a player even if he isn't charged or convicted of a crime.

To be fair, his fiance was also arrested on the same charges that night and has since married Rice. So she must not have any hard feelings towards him.

But regardless of whether both parties were involved, a male struck a female or vice versa – domestic violence on any level is not okay. This is an issue that is extremely important to me and one that the NFL could have taken a stance on in how it dealt with the punishment of Ray Rice.

I feel like Roger Goodell let us all down.

I have seen arguments made that players that get caught for violating the substance abuse policy earn 4-6 game suspensions, or players that illegally hit players with pads on during a game can receive the same suspension for someone who hits a girl with his fist.

It’s easy to compare it to other violations but it shouldn’t be. The Rice incident happened off the playing field and doesn’t directly affect his job – as drugs or an illegal hit do. It does however affect the integrity of the NFL and reflects on him, his team, his popularity as a player and forces his coach to make a statement on a very touchy issue.

I applaud Rice for attending counseling and for Goodell to make a point of saying he is expected to continue to attend counseling.

Counseling seems more than necessary for someone who apparently knocks another person unconscious – especially a person he/she claims to love. But beyond the counseling, Goodell had an opportunity to make a point that the NFL does not stand for domestic violence and quite possibly ‘scare’ Rice straight.

Ndamukong Suh has not learned from his multiple fines and suspensions. Josh Gordon, Justin Blackmon have not learned from theirs. Sometimes it takes a drastic move to make someone change, sometimes a fan base needs the reassurance from the most popular sport in the country that they won’t stand for domestic abuse.

Goodell hasn’t asked to be a spokesperson for social issues and sports was never intended to be an avenue to better the mindset of the human race – but they can be.

We’ve seen example of that in the Los Angeles Clippers and Don Sterling case in the NBA and the St. Louis Rams and Michael Sam.

A couple hundred grand and a few games won’t make or break a professional athlete but it can make a grander statement to a fan base. One that on this occasion, I’m sad to say fell short.

 

17 Comments

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  • uBnice Jul 30, 7:26 a.m.

    UBNICE,

    I think he should've gotten at least 4 games. That would've been more in line with... View More

    — Posted by gregoryrjones

    Thank you. I respect your opinion on this issue.

  • gregoryrjones Jul 29, 12:48 p.m.

    UBNICE,

    I think he should've gotten at least 4 games. That would've been more in line with previous rulings and sent a stronger message to the female fans of the league. That segment of the NFL fan base is growing and this could stunt that growth.

  • uBnice Jul 28, 4:07 p.m.

    Erin,

    You seem surprised by the ruling of Goodell. I'm not. Remember, this is the same man that... View More

    — Posted by gregoryrjones

    Ray Rice's fiance was arrested on the same charges that night. Goodell said he made his decision after listening to the compelling testimony of Rice's wife. I just wonder what she told Goodell.

    So you and the author thinks he should have gotten more? I think his wife did not want him to have any suspension time? Why? And please don't tell me because she is some helpless victim who simply is at the mercy of this demonized man.

    Please don't get me wrong. I am absolutely against any domestic violence and us men commit too much of this towards our significant others.

  • gregoryrjones Jul 28, 2:04 p.m.

    Erin,

    You seem surprised by the ruling of Goodell. I'm not. Remember, this is the same man that suspended and fined Saints players based on his opinion. Not facts, his opinion. Then his old boss, Paul Tagliabue overruled him.

    I agree that he should've gotten more but, am not surprised he didn't because, Goodell is inconsistent with his rulings. They seem to be based on how he feels, rather than the letter of the law according to the NFL Bylaws and/or rules.

    That is why HGH testing will be a major sticking point while he is the Commissioner of the NFL. The players simply don't trust him, and with good reason.

  • lewiskr45 Jul 28, 8:11 a.m.

    I was disgusted with what Ray Rice did. Short of being assaulted with a weapon, he has ability... View More

    — Posted by uBnice

    Well the NBA for one.

  • uBnice Jul 27, 6:30 a.m.

    I was disgusted with what Ray Rice did. Short of being assaulted with a weapon, he has ability to restrain most women.

    But, answer me this, what company suspends or even fires an employee based on a non-criminal domestic dispute? If not for the video, most of the world would not know and it would have been privately addressed.

    Bottom line, however, is that the young lady still married him. I wish their marriage well. It has a rocky start but hopefully they can work it out.

  • NOT Apologizing For Being White Jul 26, 1:19 p.m.

    "But regardless of whether both parties were involved, a male struck a female or vice versa – domestic violence on any level is not okay."

    No, it's not, thats why he was punished by the courts and his employer.

    "This is an issue that is extremely important to me"

    So what! Nobody cares about your personal sob story. Get over yourself and get over it. Obviously the NFL thinks the punishment was just and didn't call you to ask if it was OK. SMH

  • Deb1003 Jul 26, 12:44 p.m.

    With the amount of domestic violence in our country today, you'd think the NFL would take a tougher stand. I guess the league has more sympathy towards pitbulls than women.

  • Winston Jul 26, 11:26 a.m.

    he NFL could care less about their players beating women. They hated to have to suspend him for 2 games. NFL revenues lost.

  • BB5 Jul 26, 9:43 a.m.

    It up to the courts too handle punishment
    the league suspended him for embarrassing the league,... View More

    — Posted by ACC EXPERT

    They're both clueless. Rice for treating his fiance the way he did and the fiance for marrying him after that ordeal. 2-game suspension? That's called a joke.

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