We've all seen the horror video taken from the point of view of an elevator camera. Although the footage was black and white and grainy, there is no mistaking what is taking place. Ray Rice, running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was seen dragging his then finance' Janay Palmer's lifeless body out of an elevator. At the time nobody knew what proceeded Rices dragging Palmer's unconscious body out of the elevator like a bag of trash, except Rice and his companion. But those of us who are reasonable could kind of figure it our. But without proof there was just speculation, until now.
The Baltimore Ravens terminated running back Ray Rice’s contract yesterday after a graphic video emerged of him punching his former fiancée, who is now his wife, in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City in February. The video raised fresh questions about N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the situation; in July, the N.F.L. suspended Rice for two games.
The Ravens, who had not previously disciplined Rice in any public way, announced Rice’s release on their Twitter account Monday afternoon. The league, which had been widely criticized for not penalizing Rice more strongly, has now indefinitely suspended him, and rightfully so.
“Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that based on the new video evidence that became available today, he has imposed an indefinite suspension on Ray Rice,” the N.F.L. said in a statement. Rice will have to apply to be reinstated.
The decisions came just hours after TMZ published their video on its website. It shows Rice viciously punching Janay Palmer in an elevator, and then leaving her motionless on the floor. He then dragged her unconscious body from the elevator.
Previously published video of the incident was taken from a camera outside the elevator and showed only the aftereffects of the altercation. Rice was charged with felony assault in March, but after Janay Rice declined to testify against her husband, charges were reduced to court-supervised counseling.
The new video of the incident reignited criticism of Goodell and the league’s handling of domestic violence. The commissioner was portrayed as out of touch on the issue, and it came as he was grappling with other explosive issues, including bullying in the locker room, players driving drunk and carrying weapons, and a drug and steroids policy that some considered outdated.
Goodell, who has wide discretion to penalize players for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, was criticized for giving Rice only a two-game suspension. The N.F.L. received hundreds of phone calls in protest, and petitions with tens of thousands of signatures were collected.
The real tragedy in this often told narrative is the fact that Janay Rice not only married this vicious creep, but she seems to blame herself for getting knocked unconscious. Her twitter comment indicates that she truely believes that her actions on that night warranted such brutality.
Goodell, admitted that he made a mistake in giving Rice just a 2 game suspension. At the end of August he announced tougher penalties against players who commit domestic violence. In a letter to team owners she said he took responsibility “both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn’t get it right.”
Goodell said that in the future, any N.F.L. employee, including nonplayers, would be suspended for six games for a first offense of domestic violence and a minimum of a year for a second offense.
The video triggered questions about what the league knew, and when. A spokesman for the league said “no one in our office has seen it until today.”
But Peter King, an N.F.L. reporter for Sports Illustrated, wrote in July that the league had reviewed the elevator video, and the league has not disputed that report. An N.F.L. spokesman did not respond to inquiries Monday morning about whether any of the league’s investigators who do not work in the office had previously seen the video.
Advocates for victims of domestic violence called on Goodell to revisit his treatment of Rice in light of the new video. Within hours, the Ravens and the league acted.
“The Ravens have sent a strong message against domestic violence,” said Judy Harris Kluger, executive director for Sanctuary for Families. “It was impossible to ignore or explain away.”