Almost two weeks after Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) Roger Goodell issued a public apology for the appallingly lenient punishment domestic abuse and sexual assault cases, TMZ released footage of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancé, now-wife, Janay Palmer.
The incident occurred in earlier this year in February. A surveillance video was subsequently released showing Rice getting off an elevator, dragging his unconscious fiancée across an Atlantic City casino lobby.
However, a recent footage from the same evening has been released by TMZ and it shows how the woman got knocked out.
Palmer is seen approaching Rice in the elevator, just before he delivers a punch to her face. Her head slams into the elevator wall before she falls to the floor. He can be seen bending down, trying to pick her up – even kicking her – but she doesn’t move.
Soon after the footage was made public, Rice was cut off from the Baltimore Ravens squad and suspended indefinitely.
However, it is something that should’ve happened a long time ago.
Why did it take seven months, hundreds of scathing articles and a TMZ video for the NFL to realize that something as serious – and obvious – as domestic violence deserves a more severe punishment? That They should implement a strict new policy on such cases?
Prior to the new footage, an eyewitness confirmed that it was a full-blown uppercut that sent Mrs. Rice tumbling to the ground and left her unconscious.
While other players who used marijuana or violated alcohol policies received far more serious penalties, Rice managed to avoid any legal repercussion for a good seven months for beating up a woman – thanks to a pre-trial diversionary program. And the fact that he was a “first-time offender”.
And by the way, it’s not just Rice who has received lenient punishment for physical violence.
Most recently, defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers Ray McDonald was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence in August, just days after the NFL imposed a strict new policy on domestic violence.
But McDonald is still playing, because his coach Jim Harbaugh said “the way the facts are and what’s known, he has the liberty to play in the game.”
The statistics of domestic abuse in the NFL are staggering.
Justin Peters of “Slate” found that “21 of 32 NFL teams, at one point in 2012, had employed a player with a domestic violence or sexual assault charge on his record.”
Allison McCann of “Five Thirty Eight” discovered that NFL doesn’t keep a track record of how, when and why a player is suspended.
A spokeswoman, Darlene Capiro told McCann that the football league doesn’t have a “comprehensive list” of suspensions made in the past 94 years.
An NFL Players Association representative, George Atallah, said the “union had at least some of the data but did not provide it after repeated requests.”
All of this essentially means that a mere suspension of Ray Rice will not make much of a difference. The governing body itself needs to revise the old polices and adopt a more direct approach with the players to educate and train them on such issues.