A Ray Of Progressive Thought

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two regular season games of the 2014 NFL season. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two regular season games of the 2014 NFL season. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison

By Will Martin

Indeed there has been so much social media cranked out about the light suspension given to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice over his treatment of his (then fiancee) Janay at an Atlantic City Casino.

To the point that she was unconscious and dragged inside of an elevator was pretty disgusting and disheartening.

If you haven’t seen the tape feel free to do so on YouTube. A pretty damning case to the eyes.

Here locally I actually heard some local radio guys try to defend the actions of what Ray Rice did, saying ‘It was an isolated incident. Alcohol was involved. This was a one time thing.’

Tell that to any woman who gets into an abusive relationship and doesn’t say anything for fear of getting beaten again.

Stephen A. Smith tried to convey a message to the social media world about his thoughts on the matter. In doing so his thoughts were misconstrued by the very women he wanted to placate. Colleague Michelle Beadle had some strong words for Mr. Smith before Stephen clarified his initial thoughts.

A billion dollar enterprise like the NFL has done many things right in its ascension to being the #1 juggernaut in sports viewership in the world.

It must also be said that the percentage of its fandom comes from the very gender it has managed to offend and take for granted.

Is this what the NFL thinks about women?

Roger Goodell has been an absolute watchdog for protecting the best interests and integrity of the product on the field based on the behavior of its players on and off of it.

The Commish thoroughly blew it on this one.

Two games for hitting a woman and knocking her unconscious? Two games for committing an act of violence? Two games for losing your temper in public? Only two games?

I wonder what Andre Gurode is thinking after his spike and 30 stitches to the face? I wonder what Michael Vick is thinking for his dog fighting miscues? I wonder what every athlete in sport is thinking who has ever taken that little toke to get high and faced a higher suspension? I wonder about all those athletes who currently play the game-any game-and take that step over the line with the same behavior only to not get caught?

If you haven’t seen what Keith Olbermann had to say about this a few nights ago here it is. Pretty spot on in my estimation.

I wonder what kind of message we are to really think about a league that preaches about wearing pink each October and vows keen Cancer awareness yet will look the other way when acts like this occur.

To also hear comments of, ‘Well women sometimes instigate all of this to merit getting hit’.

Mark Cuban, is this the slippery slope you spoke of a few months ago? Machismo in the NFL when you play the game is one thing. Taking the game home with you to act out in a manner of machismo is another symptom to a problem.

Plain and simple-you just do not hit a woman. Regardless of what they do or don’t do. You never strike a woman. Whatever extenuating circumstances dictate otherwise it’s not my call to decide what that should be.

Each and every weekend in the world fans will root for their teams and do so by getting under the influence of something. For those who can do so and maintain a behavioral equilibrium more power to you.

As this writer approaches 17 years clean and sober know this: Violence-like alcohol or drug addiction-is a PROGRESSIVE illness that escalates over time with each accident or trip to the hospital. It never gets better, it only gets worse. Untreated it will usually lead to jail, insanity, or death. Fact.

Incidents of violence get more physical, more painful, and more. There are many many people out there who suffer in silence with the hope that ‘one day my partner will change and get better’. A mantra that remains in place despite that odd looking arm bruise or sustained body injury which happened ‘because it must have happened when I fell.’

Only two games for Ray Rice because of all that he has done in the community in years past. Ray and Janay had their press conference to apologize for what happened. How legit or real that was remains to be seen.

Make no mistake: There is no such thing as squeaky clean and perfect anymore. Keep that mindset and you’ll never be disappointed in life.

Violence on the field of the National Football League is allowed within the confines of the law. Any penalties will be assessed in the 5 to 10 to 15 yard increments all the way to an ejection.

Off the field Roger Goodell had a chance to make a major statement to what is proper and what is allowable. Clearly, this two game suspension sends out the wrong message.

What are we to think about all the anti-bullying messages Ray Rice once spoke of?

It has been reported that in a woman’s lifetime 1 in 4 will be assaulted. That is inexcusable and indefensible.

This suspension carries a swath of so may topics that will cut across so many barriers and levels of topics. The bottom line still the profitability of the NFL. Even if it has to have an occasional public black eye from an off-field story.

Each year the jokes about the police blotter getting busier with the start to NFL camp start to resonate with some truth. The life of an NFL player you can count in 3.2 years. What you do in that time span can stay with you for a lifetime.

I sincerely hope Ray Rice realizes how much good he can do to spread the awareness to keeping your cool when in a hostile situation. I sincerely hope that people who choose to climb the proverbial slippery slope on a daily basis not in control one day get a sense of awareness and get the help needed.

I sincerely hope that the Rices, now married learn whatever it is they need to learn to get on with life, their issues, their marriage, their life so that they never have a repeat performance that was videotaped inside a casino.

I sincerely hope that on any given Sunday all of the fans of football can go about cheering their teams, tailgate amongst friends and foes and not have to engage in acts of stupidity.

I also sincerely hope that for every athlete who plays the sport of football or any sport that tackles violence they can separate the game from personal life and thus never be placed in a situation that can get ugly very quickly.

I sincerely hope that Ray Rice’s moment can help to open the eyes of those who are guilty of the same thing in life in private who have yet to get caught or reported. It’s only a matter of time.

Knowing how the NFL looks after their own I sincerely doubt it. Which makes me believe that whatever the Rices said to Roger Goodell was pretty compelling.

Lets hope they meant it. Otherwise nothing will change until the league’s pocketbook is affected.