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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: NFL finally gets Ray Rice penalties right

Kenneth K. Lam
Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife Janay made statements to the news media May 5, 2014, at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Md, regarding his assault charge for knocking her unconscious in a New Jersey casino. On Monday, Sept. 9, 2014, Rice was let go from the Baltimore Ravens after a video surfaced from TMZ showing the incident. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/MCT)

Justice has been served.

It was announced Monday afternoon that the Baltimore Ravens let go of running back Ray Rice with the following one-sentence statement: “The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon.”

Rice had been suspended two games for a domestic violence incident that included the veteran running back hitting his then-fiancée in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino in February. The couple has since married and publicly forgiven each other.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the original two-game suspension in late July to a chorus of significant displeasure over the length of the suspension. However, it seems like the outcry over the short suspension has finally made a difference.

After Baltimore terminated his contract, Goodell announced that Rice has been suspended indefinitely from the NFL after the video surfaced of Rice striking his wife in the elevator.

My questions about this scenario came when the video was released. My first thought was, had the NFL or Ravens seen the footage of Rice hitting his fiancée before handing down the suspension?

In his press conference today on NFL Network, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he had no answer for if the team had seen the video before.

It’s just hard to imagine that this video wasn’t available for viewing previously, which Harbaugh alluded to by saying: “It wasn’t made available to us.”

How is it that TMZ Sports could get the footage but the all-powerful NFL and its lawyers could not? The NFL is a billion dollar industry and has significant power when it comes to going after players.

However, I applaud Goodell for admitting his mistake and trying to remedy the situation by suspending Rice indefinitely. In this case, not only is this the right move, it’s the move that should’ve been made about a month and a half ago.

The NFL made an egregious mistake with the Rice suspension and shortly after revamped its domestic violence policy. First-time offenders will be suspended a minimum of six games, and second-time offenders will face a lifetime ban.

Players who have domestic violence incidents before the NFL will likely face stiffer penalties once they enter the NFL. While incredibly harsh, this penalty ensures that players will think twice before committing such a reckless act.

We won’t get an opportunity to see the new policies in action until San Francisco 49er defensive lineman Ray McDonald is handed down his penalty for a charged felony domestic violence incident from about one week ago.

However, it’s safe to say Goodell will make an example of McDonald’s situation.

If Goodell is trying to change the culture of the league, suspending Rice indefinitely was the right move to get the ball rolling.

—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseofPayne555

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