Ray Rice needs help. Serious help.
When I first heard what happened back in February, I was appalled. I paid close attention to the process and followed the details of his trial. When I listened to his press conference live and saw his apology wasn’t scripted and seemed sincere, I started rooting for him to make amends. He entered the pretrial diversion program and I hoped he had turned a corner.
When the video released on Monday morning, I made a point of watching it. The mixture of emotions and thoughts I’ve processed over the past two days leaves me with more questions that people well above my pay grade, society status, and experience are needing to answer.
How is Ray Rice not in jail? How can something so brutal and evil happen, and yet, he gets only a two-game suspension and a pretrial exit strategy? Shame on the prosecutor’s office for not submitting, or allegedly not even obtaining a copy of the video.
If the NFL had no knowledge of what was on the elevator video tape, then why was no one from the NFL available for comment on Monday after the video tape released? If you had no knowledge of the tape, then what do you have to hide? The conspiracy buzzards are circling over whether NFL commissioner Roger Goodell knew of the video and waited to have TMZ release it until an opportune time, like when he needed to save face and take a mulligan on Rice’s initial suspension.
The one thing that simply blows my mind is that we knew in February that Ray Rice knocked out his fianceé in the elevator. End of story. We knew he hit his girlfriend, the police report even said so. And now, seven months later, society is acting like actually seeing it on film somehow changes the brutal facts that we already knew!
Yes, video speaks volumes beyond police reports and even pictures, but don’t act like the video changes what we already knew. Is the video graphic? Absolutely, because it was a graphic, horrible act. League officials, other NFL players, media talking-heads, and other parts of society are now squawking like we’re surprised by what we saw on the video. Stop cheapening the fact we didn’t take the police and medical reports at face value and admit the fact this incident wasn’t treated with the most serious repercussions.
Domestic violence is a massive problem. Race, class, age, geography, none of those matter because domestic violence happens across the entire spectrum of humanity. Here are all the rules you need to know about domestic violence.
- Guys, never hit a woman. Ever. No exceptions. If a woman is threatening harm to you, do everything in your power to safely restrain her or distance yourself from the situation, but never hit a woman.
- If in doubt, follow Rule #1.
The alarming trend among professional athletes is a rampant dissonance between reality and entitlement. Sadly, drugs, crime, and domestic violence are not strangers to professional athlete’s private lives. The growth of social media, me-first image advancement, and a bloated fiscal entitlement system like American sports has created a very skewed attitude of entitlement.
Playing in a league like the NFL is a privilege, not a right. Any time you join an organization, step into leadership, gain popularity, or achieve certain status, you also proportionately negotiate away your freedom of being inconsequential. Translation: the higher up you go, the more what you do and who you are matters.
This is a dark time in the NFL for more than just Rice’s actions. The lack of leadership and accountability from the league’s front office, including the commissioner, and the spineless waffling of the league on its grievous mishandling of domestic violence-related suspension protocol is beyond unacceptable.
The only way this is fixed is by admitting the problem starts within before it ever manifests outside. Court systems, legal prosecution, and pretrial diversion programs should be the backup plan for professional teams and management who choose to do what’s right the first time instead of wishing more evidence will surface so they can simply save face.
For all of us, the reality is we are all capable of the same type of evil and brutality that Rice demonstrated. And you may be objecting right now, saying “I’d never assault a woman like that.” Maybe not, but whenever we object to the potential of sin’s corruption in our life is when we put our own morality on a crystal pedestal.
The only difference is choosing to let the Gospel transform our corrupted sinful nature. At the end of the day, Ray Rice is still human, broken and jacked-up because of his sin. So is Roger Goodell. And you. And me. And the rest of humanity.
Choosing good over evil is a one-at-a-time opportunity. The league, Roger Goodell, and Ray Rice all have an opportunity to choose what’s right, even after all that’s been done wrong. Thank God for grace. Thank God for the opportunity to repent. Thank God for second chances after repentance.