Approximately one year ago, Ray Rice and his then-fiancee Janay Palmer were involved a very public incident in an elevator that resulted in an outcry around domestic abuse, relationships and society’s views of the male/female dynamic. With everything that has come out in the last twelve months, here are some thoughts:
1) Ray Rice was wrong. Anytime you put your hands on a woman (regardless of the circumstances), as a male, you are no longer the victim and will not be treated as one. As the male, recognition is your key – not restraint. Recognize when things start to get real. Recognize that getting out of a potentially volatile situation is the key to survival – survival of your sanity, survival of your relationship (present and future) and survival of your livelihood.
2) Domestic violence is defined by the Department of Justice as a “pattern of abusive behavior from individual to another intimate partner to gain or maintain power via physical, verbal, sexual, economic and/or psychological execution”. Perhaps the Rice’s situation is not what is classically defined as domestic violence. Perhaps his act (while egregious) was not a sign of a pattern – but an isolated incident. We (the general public, the media, the NFL, domestic rights groups etc.) don’t know. Only the Rice’s know the real truth in their relationship dynamics and they, not us, have to work through them.
3) Did the NFL believe that an assault didn’t occur in the elevator? Did they think he didn’t hit his wife and knock her unconscious? Why the surprise about a video with a swing when you saw the video several months ago of him dragging her out of an elevator?
4) Roger Goodell is not very bright. Enough said.
5) Don’t mistake the NFL’s “banishment” of Ray Rice as punishment. That was a PR move – plain and simple. Just like him losing all of his endorsements and no team (at present) signing him to contract is not about punishment. Two words – Brand Protection.
6) Speaking of punishment – the punishment of knowing that he hurt his wife (and mother of his daughter) and that he can’t just take it back will stick with him more than anything the NFL or the public does to him.
7) On his wife, the public didn’t know her before February of 2014. We don’t know what she said to Roger Goodell when she went with Ray to meet him and discuss the matter. It is dangerous to make assumptions that she was coerced into making herself the perpetrator to save Ray or that she was less than truthful about the events in the elevator. We don’t know. We do know that she has more than once publicly stood by her husband. THAT IS HER CHOICE – NOT OURS.
8) I want Ray Rice to stop apologizing publicly. I want Ray Rice to reach out to Michael Vick. I hope they get a chance to talk man to man. I hope Vick tells him the truth. What’s the truth? That he can keep apologizing and trying to show contrition for what happened. That there are some that will never forgive him or look at him the same. That he become an advocate for domestic violence but maybe becoming an advocate for better relationships is better for the long term.
9) Domestic violence is not a sports issue; it is a societal issue. It shouldn’t be addressed in the sports bars. It should be addressed at the kitchen/dining room table at home. You remember the kitchen/dining room table? It is where families used to sit over a meal and talk to each other about the happenings of the day. It is where kids learned civilized dining and where parents were able to have family discussions without interruptions like cell phones or the television. Just a thought but maybe it is time we get back to family basics.
10) Every 9 Seconds, someone is a victim of Domestic Violence……. Think about it!!!