UPDATE: Ray Rice has been released by the Baltimore Ravens, approximately 18 seconds after I published this post. Maybe I can predict the future after all.
Disturbing new footage of the Ray Rice incident was released on Monday; deflecting attention away from the fanfare of NFL’s opening weekend. Commissioner Roger Goodell faced immediate criticism as Rice was suspended only two games for the brutality and thus he has since revamped the league’s domestic violence policies. Rice is scheduled to return to action on Friday, following Baltimore’s Thursday night game, though his left hook begs to differ.
It’s ludicrous that the likes of Wes Welker and Matt Prater are doubly punished for ingesting illegal substances. No, the NFL should not condone those practices either, but they are on a different stratosphere than endangering the life of another. It’s clear that not only fans feel this way, as players including Terrance Knighton have taken to Twitter to express their beliefs. It’s difficult to recall another NFL punishment associated with as much controversy. Though Rice likely won’t be the last display of domestic violence in professional sports, he can be the last to face such lenient punishment.
While Goodell’s admittedly delusional decision appears irrevocable, the Baltimore Ravens are prompted with an opportunity to make a change. If owner Steve Bisciotti wants to prevent a season-long circus from distracting his team, he’ll take action. Lengthen Rice’s suspension. Hell, release him from the organization. Any action is better than none, and I guarantee the flurry of praise the Ravens would receive would far surpass the myriad of contempt faced by Goodell.
The Ravens travel to Cleveland in week 3. Hopefully, Ray Rice will not.