Uncle Ray and the NFL’s perverted Rice

For those who make a living talking — especially those who talk about sports — this afternoon could end up a gold mine since the announcement that the Baltimore Ravens fired star running back Ray Rice.

Rice was handed a two-game suspension after a hastily-crafted domestic violence policy by the NFL evolved in the wake of a sordid video of Rice pulling his unconscious fiancee from an Atlantic City, N.J. hotel elevator. The running back, with fiancee Janay Palmer, at his side, later performed a televized mea culpa after the incident in which Rice had cold-cocked Palmer in the elevator. The pair soon wed. That show, and the now seemingly meager suspension, felt millions of light years away when gossip site TMZ released this morning a video from inside the elevator prior to the previously released clip.

The clip shown today, which was apparently sold by a person or persons not identified by TMZ, exhibits the now Mrs. Rice arguing with the ball star upon entering the elevator.. As Palmer-Rice  moves toward the three-time Pro Bowler, he pummels her with a closed fist, knocking the woman against the elevator rail and onto the floor. The woman appears unconscious as Rice picks her up and drags her out the elevator, before she eventually regains consciousness.

Since the story broke early this afternoon of the firing and indefinite suspension, the talking began and I guess it continues to flourish. I would not know, as I took a break to write a bit. It isn’t that I have anything particularly profound to write. I have seen people knocked out before though never quite a mismatch in such an exhibition of domestic rage. From what I could tell of the brief battle, or rather, violent assault, it appeared Mrs. Palmer-Rice is lucky to remain alive.

There are many angles from which to view this sordid story. First is, naturally, the vicious blow Rice made upon his now wife’s face. I am well aware how complicated domestic abuse can be although I tend to see it more one-dimensionally. If a spouse or significant other assaults the other party, that should pretty much be the end of that relationship unless some type of intervention is made that will ensure such never happens again. I tend to think that things end right there however. There is no excuse to assault anyone.

This affair shows as well the type of knee-jerk management that the NFL and its affiliates employ. A player can lose a quarter of a season if he tests positive for smoking pot. For beating a defenseless spouse, one will sit out at least two games.

The whole gender issue is one I will not address. It is more complicated than I have time for discussion. Obviously, men only play NFL and major college football. That doesn’t preclude women from being ardent fans of the sport. I have known a number of female football fans. Some of those were likewise my fans.

Whether this will become what the president calls “a teachable moment” is difficult to predict.  One can hope something good can come from something so sordid. Hopefully, it might be something more than “whole lotta jaw flappin’ going on.” Or, at least one may wish.