Six takeaways from the Ray Rice scandal


After public backlash due to Ray Rice only getting a two game suspension after video of him dragging his unconscious girlfriend around a casino during the offseason surfaced, Roger Goodell admitted last week that he had “made a mistake” as he announced a stricter league-wide policy on domestic violence.

Fortunately for Rice, at least to the public’s knowledge, the NFL didn’t have video of the actual confrontation between Rice and his now wife, and Rice was able to skate away with only a two-game suspension after hiding behind his story of “self defense”. As all of the dust had appeared to settle on the Rice scandal, even if most people were disgusted at how it was handled, TMZ Sports obtained and released this damning video, which changed the entire scandal.

As if there hadn’t been enough backlash about the entire situation to begin with, seeing how brutally Rice attacked his feuding girlfriend, and the fact that it really wasn’t a “self defense” type of situation, created a Donald Sterling-esque mess for the NFL.

Even after they allowed Rice to trot out during training camp-with the support of his teammates nonetheless-and try to sell us on the “changed man” image, the Ravens couldn’t stick by Rice through this.

The NFL, despite the previous belief that they couldn’t revisit previously given suspensions, followed suit.

I’ve had plenty of time to think about this topic, frankly I hadn’t gotten over how short the original suspension was, so here are some of my takeaways. I’d like to think some of them are obvious, but a majority are coming at things from a different angle.

  1. Did we really need to see this video to guess that this is what had happened? I’m kind of surprised at how outraged people were this morning, because to me, the video wasn’t shocking. It was disgusting, but it was kind of how I pictured the situation. Self defense, my ass.
  2. Josh Gordon could light up a blunt in front of Roger Goodell, and he still shouldn’t have gotten 14 more games than Rice. As dumb as the drug rules are, Gordon broke the rules numerous times, so this isn’t me campaigning for his suspension to be reduced. My point is that Rice should have gotten the indefinite suspension even before this video.
  3. If Rice was on a no-nonsense team like the Eagles or Patriots, where the coach really is bigger than the team, he would have been gone long before this. There are organizations in the league, especially with how watered down running-backs have become, that would have cut Rice immediately after the whole thing surfaced. I thought John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens were one of those stand-up type organizations before this; I was wrong. 
  4. Rice obviously won’t get back in the league this year, due to his suspension and lack of interest. At 27, likely 28 until he is allowed to even look for a new team, it seems far-fetched to think Rice will ever play another game in the league. If he was a Quarterback, Rice would be back in the league withing a year or two, though. Regardless of how gross this act was, it has nothing on what Michael Vick did (I’m not trying to hate on Vick, just saying), and he got back into the league after a jail sentence. Rice won’t get that jail sentence, but because he plays a position much less important in the 2014 NFL, he likely won’t ever get back in the league.
  5. I don’t understand why the league went to such great lengths to defend Rice. Whether they had seen this video or not, Rice isn’t Peyton Manning or Tom Brady—the league would have been fine without him for eight games or a year. And given the original video and the fact that Rice knew what actually happened, they could have done that without much of a fight. I’m not sure what they ever really had to gain by trying to downplay what Rice did with only a two game suspension, because all they really did was make an already tricky situation worse.
  6. Four or five years ago, Roger Goodell was the best commissioner in sports by default. Bud Selig let the Steroid scandal go right over his head, David Stern was an unlikeable guy that rigged the 1985 draft for the Knicks, and Gary Bettman just sucks. Bettman still sucks, but Adam Silver won over the public with his banishment of Donald Sterling, and Selig has put in instant replay and won back some supporters on his way out the door. Goodell had to put in some new rules due to the concussion lawsuits, but he’s lost me on the corners not being able to make any contact with receivers and obviously, his handling of this. If he had seen this video before the two game suspension, which I would guess he had, and tried to help downplay it (cover it up), he should be gone with Rice.