In 2013, Brandon Meriweather was suspended for two games for “repeated violation of the NFL’s helmet-to-helmet policy.”
In 2014, Ray Rice was suspended for two games for knocking his then-fiancé unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
Does this not add up to anyone else? Let me get this straight: Rice was given the same punishment for knocking a woman unconscious on video as Meriweather was for tackling violations? And received a lesser suspension than Haynesworth, who’s violation was against another man and during a game when the man had protective gear on? Haynesworth’s suspension, at the time the longest ever for an on-field incident, was appropriate; Rice’s suspension is shockingly and disgustingly light. I am outraged, irate, infuriated… there aren't enough words for my level of disgust at Ray Rice, the NFL and those supporting this wife beater.
We have all seen the video of the Ravens running back carrying Janay Palmer’s lifeless body out of the elevator and laying her carelessly on the floor. Ever the gentlemen, he makes sure to pull her feet out of the way so the doors could close. It wasn't made public, but Atlantic City Police have said they have video of Rice actually punching Palmer unconscious. Think about that for a moment — Rice took his fist and hit his fiancé, who he supposedly loves, in the head so hard that she was out cold. But of course that doesn't render the same punishment as Haynesworth using his foot to hit another man who was wearing protective equipment.
What might even make the light suspension worse is that it was handed down by Roger Goodell, the man who is supposedly “cleaning up the NFL.” Apparently cleaning up the NFL doesn't refer to those who abuse women, only those who smoke pot, take performance enhancing drugs or hit other men too hard during games.
The first time I saw the video I gasped in horror. Rice's attorney described the incident as a "minor physical altercation." I’d like anyone to look at the video of Rice dragging Palmer’s limp body out of an elevator and tell me there was anything “minor” about it. That any lawyer would dare to use such a word—minor— to describe what Rice did to Palmer is utterly degrading to all women.
Adding insult to injury, the Baltimore Ravens released a statement a few days after the video went public, in which Coach Jim Harbaugh said, "The two people obviously have a couple issues that they have to work through, and they're both committed to doing that....They understand their own issues. They're getting a lot of counseling and those kinds of things, so I think that's really positive."
Wow. Bad grammar aside, are you $a*!@#(%&;@#! kidding me?! This isn't “a couple [of] issues,” it is violent abuse that is indicative of the man Ray Rice truly is. Do we think this is the first (or last) time he has done this? Statistics tell us that it is likely not: Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18-24, 76% of females ages 25-34, and 81% of females ages 35-49. Palmer standing by his side, and even marrying him, after the incident does nothing to change what happened. Sadly, many women stay with the men who abuse them, either because they confuse abuse with love, they believe he “won’t do it again,” or because they are scared to leave because they fear for their safety or they are afraid to be alone.
As a female football fan, I’m insulted and disgusted that Rice was given such little punishment for his violent crime. I’m offended and sad that his lawyer would call the exchange “minor” and I’m further offended that the Baltimore Ravens organization, players and some fans are standing up for this wife beater – because that is exactly what Ray Rice is.
Despite saying he was “taking responsibility for his actions, Rice rejected a plea offer that would have spared the running back jail time in exchange for completing probation and undergoing anger management. Instead, he pleaded not guilty—not guilty to something that is on camera. In a move that says far too much about our society, Rice was accepted into a program for first-time offenders that will clear him of charges in as few as six months if he stays out of trouble and attends regular counseling.
I am sad that the only consequence for Rice knocking a woman out cold is a two-game suspension. No jail time, no probation, not even a fine. I am sad for Janay Palmer, even if she isn't sad for herself. I'm sad that, yet again, violence against women goes underpunished. I'm sad that a man was let "off the hook" because he can run with a ball. And I'm sad that talent and money outweighs violence.
I hope no one cheers for Ray Rice in his first game back; I hope the Baltimore fans turn their backs when he is announced; I hope they boo him when he gets handed the ball. But, sadly, history tells us that if Rice does well on the field, all will be forgotten and forgiven. In fact, this week it was reported that "Rice gets warm reception from fans at practice." Applauding a guy that is so tough he knocks out his girlfriend in an elevator where she had no where to run. They should be ashamed of themselves
I, for one, will not forget. I hope others do the same.
- On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.[i]
- Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.[ii]
- Nearly, 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men have been injured as a result of IPV that included rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[iii]
- 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[iv]
- IPV alone affects more than 12 million people each year.[v]
- More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[vi]
- Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).[vii]
- Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.[viii]
- From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.[ix]
- Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49.[x]
*Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) of the Department of Justice (DOJ), both government agencies.