September 8, 2014

THOMAS | The NFL: Domesticated Nonsense

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By DEON THOMAS

I no longer understand the actions of the NFL, the Ravens, nor the fans. On February 15, Ray Rice domestically abused his fiancé and a video was released that showed him dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. He was only suspended for two games, whereas his peers who got caught with marijuana in their blood streams were suspended for an entire season. The fallout was met with arguments that Palmer, Rice’s fiancé, not only had forgiven Rice but had also gone on to marry him afterwards. Furthermore, a disgusting argument arrived on the scene that she had even provoked him into reciprocating with violence. After facing backlash from fans and media outlets, Roger Godell admitted the punishment did not fit the crime and instituted much stricter policies for domestic abuse. However, please note that it took upset fans for him to see the “wrong” in domestic abuse.

On Monday morning, a video was released to the public of what actually took place in the elevator. The video depicts Rice punching his then fiancé in the face twice and knocking her unconscious. This caused the Ravens to drop Rice from the team and the NFL to suspend Rice indefinitely, rather than the initial suspension of two games. I find this change in his status absolutely ridiculous for multiple reasons. To even begin, I will have to suspend my belief that both the NFL and the Ravens organization had seen this video far before Monday. I would be very surprised to find out that the resources of the NFL were not able to get their hands on this video before it was released to the general public. Even if I were to believe such a fact, I continue to blame the NFL because that simply means they didn’t look hard enough or, even worse, did not want to uncover the video because it could only tarnish their image further.

I am extremely disappointed in the NFL for basing their decision not on the actions of the players but the potential reactions of the fans. It seems as if they could care less what their players do as long as there is no chance of us finding out. A lot of people are finding themselves further disgusted with Rice and his fiancé, however I find it hard to agree with them. When someone drags a girl as she lays unconscious out of an elevator when they were the only two on it and later admits to domestic abuse, what the hell could have possibly happened? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he hit her! So when I look around on social media and see you expressing distaste towards his actions I must also question yours. Were you ignoring the facts of the case? Were you a huge fan of Ray Rice and believed that he could do no wrong? Simply what were you thinking? In my opinion, this video does very little in changing the facts of the case. Any action the NFL and the Ravens take now should be the same actions that were taken upon the facts known on February 15.

Nonetheless, I must ask myself “who am I kidding?” This is the same country where there is a whole Twitter account dedicated to retweets of girls claiming that Chris Brown can beat them up “anytime.” One such tweet reads, “I swear to God, Chris Brown can beat me anytime. He is just to dam sexy [sic].” Am I forced to assume that Ray Rice simply was “sexy” enough to get away with it?  It also seems as if it is simply impossible for celebrities to actually get into any legal trouble over domestic abuse. Chris Brown’s savage beating of Rihanna led to community service and probation, Ray Rice’s charges were dropped and Solange’s videotaped assault on Jay-Z simply led to jokes and laughter. I truly believe that domestic abuse needs to be met with far more outrage in the future. However, for those of you who think its funny to laugh at it in the time being, if this travesty unfortunately takes place in your own friend group or even family just remember it’s not me, it’s you.

Deon Thomas is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He may be reached at dthomas@cornellsun.com. It’s Not Me, It’s You appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.

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