Thursday, July 24, 2014

In the Case of Ray Rice, There is Something More Upsetting Than His2-Game Suspension

"You know I only say it 'cause I'm truly genuine. Don't be a hard rock when you're really a gem. Babygirl, respect is just a minimum. "

Lyric from: Doo Wop (That Thing) from the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Written By: Lauryn Hill
Performed By: Lauryn Hill

Photo of Ray Rice courtesy of

A few months ago TMZ treated us to a video of someone that appeared to be Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice dragging his then fiancĂ© out of an elevator after an altercation between the two resulted in him knocking her unconscious. 


After a review of all of the evidence, the verdict is in for Rice. The NFL handed him a 2-game suspension to start the season. Case closed. 

Outrage ensues.

Fans are upset, appropriately so, by what appears to be a lack of reasonableness in the way that the NFL punishes deplorable conduct by it players. Many have pointed out on social media that guys have gotten suspended longer for marijuana offenses. But, as in the case of Rice, render your wife lifeless in a fit of rage and you might slide by with a figurative slap on the wrist.

Yep, that’s right, she’s his wife now. 

Apparently in the time since this incident played out for all the world to see, Rice has become more lovable. 

We talk all the time about how sports folks-coaches, league officials and media alike-are selectively willing to look the other way in the face of some awful behavior by their most likable, charismatic and profitable employees.

It’s unacceptable for sure. In a domestic violence case like this one, maybe it’s just one more example in a line of examples that demonstrates how little this society values its women. Or maybe, they’re just taking their “look the other way” cues from the women in these relationships.

It’s hard to know exactly what would make a woman stay with a man that beats her. I have been candid in this blog about having been in an abusive relationship before. I stayed in it just long enough to realize that it really wasn’t my fault that my boyfriend’s anger turned violent from time to time and, then I was out of it. It wasn’t easy but, the break was made easier by the fact that I had loving parents at home, supportive friends who told me that I deserved better and a  keen awareness of the fact that my peace and sanity were worth way more than any of the “stuff” that being with him afforded me.

Subtract any of those factors from the equation, however, and for some women, it will be a story with an altogether different ending. 

And in these times where it seems that everyone everywhere is all about “stuff”-how hard we’re grinding to get it, how much we spent on it, how ours is better than yours and how much happier (allegedly) you’ll be the more of it you have-stuff carries more weight and is way more difficult to walk away from than it should be.

In this recent Deadspin piece titled The Trouble with Floyd Mayweather which chides boxing media and officials for the same type of soft handling of Floyd and his reprehensible treatment of women as the NFL is being criticized for today, the hypnotic effect and appeal of Floyd’s wealth is hard not to miss as a major point of emphasis and is quite obviously a determining factor in how much he is able to get away with, not only from the boxing community and the court system but from the women in his life as well. 

And that’s as sad as it is regrettable.

Then again, maybe the NFL is taking its cues from the rest of us. Those of us that hypocritically laugh and meme and retweet the misogynistic humor that would be decidedly less funny if the words were addressed to us, to our faces. And those of us that bounce and nod our heads to songs with lyrics that claim “it ain’t nothin’ to cut that b*tch off”.

It’s all fun and games ‘til the "b*tch" in question is you or your mother, sister or dear friend.

If you don’t think a guy that refers to women as b*tches and h*s all of time is that much closer to hitting one, you’re wrong. And if a woman doesn’t think that all of the retweeting and laughing and head bobbing is a subtle endorsement of her diminishing value, she is wrong as well.
This domestic violence thing is an “us” issue. Maybe when we start doing our part, the NFL will too.


  1. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"! We are all sitting in the seat of judgement without truly knowing the depths of what actually occurred. In no way do I condone violence against women, in fact I personally feel our women should be treated like the queens that they are! Being 1000% REAL unfortunately not all women conduct themselves as queens. Using your example we can go to the current state of hip hop, reality TV, and day to day life and you are sure to see just as many women disrespecting themselves mimicking the society we live in.

    I am not advocating for Ray Rice, but I'm not condemning him either. Lets take a step back and look at the situation impartially. From what was disclosed apparently he was struck first and when he struck her back her head hit railing which knocked her out literally. The whole thing is tragic but who's at fault, the initiator or the act of retaliation?

    Real men are raised never to put their hand on a woman. I recall a situation when I was purposely provoked by a girlfriend wanting me to hit her so that i could go to jail. She did the same to someone else and the guy was locked up. I ended up leaving a place I paid for to go to a hotel with the clothes on my back. Society will almost always give the woman the benefit of the doubt.

    Hypothetically what if Ray was provoked? This again is no excuse to hit her back but it certainly changes the landscape of things. What if she realizes that her actions caused the situation and truly feels remorse? What if it isn't things but the realization that with the exception of his lapse in judgement she really has a decent guy. What if she truly takes responsibility for the physical confrontation that led the father of her child to make a dumb decision and jeopardize all of their lively hoods?

    Apparently she is owning her role in things with law enforcement and the NFL which may reflect the punishments rendered. Ray Rice though wrong doesn't strike me as an Ike Turner if you will. People who abuse women often have a history of doing such and thus far this appears to be isolated. From this perspective I don't frown on the 2 game decision plus extra games pay. I also agree that the marijuana tolerance is overblown with the NFL. In the end life comes down to decisions and with that said those who chose to break the rules weather just or not are not victims in my eyes. Sorry for all the rambling, I am a fan of your forum and these great topics get me going LOL.


    1. As always I love when you drop a comment! I agree with you 100% we all need to do better to work to control our anger and our impulses. This is not just something for men to work on but women as well. But you captured my even broader point with your first statement in your comment..."let he who has not..."

      My point is that we are so hypocritical. We use this case as a platform to show that we care about this domestic violence issue but then we run around talking about "eat the cake Anna Mae" having forgotten that before that was a funny rap lyric that was actually a line out of a re-telling of a painful incident in a women's abusive past. We all have to do better to change this culture!

      Thanks for reading! I really appreciate hearing from you. :-)

  3. My pleasure! Domestic violence is a real issue and I Don't take it lightly at all. My mother and sister were both victims of abuse, thank god they moved on! I just think that all incidents shouldn't be lumped together in one category. I must admit initially seeing what was published, one can see why everyone was outraged. The unfortunate reality is that no matter what occurred Ray was wrong period, but to what degree is what only he and his now wife know. My only point was not to rush to condemnation.