This urge to manufacture evil larger-than-life even when it may not exist could explain Ray Rice's reputation during the past few weeks. The disgraced NFL star’s moment of infamy has attracted more scorn than even that of mass murderers.
Knee-jerk reaction poured in as soon as TMZ leaked the video of Rice hitting his fiance; for the record, the video is absolutely stomach-churning. Rice's reputation was shot, but so was anyone else's who tried to bring logic and sanity into the equation.
Let's put things into perspective and see if the former Raven really deserves ALL the hate being directed at him.
Who Started It?
Rice didn't instigate the physical altercation in that elevator. He only retaliated to his partner Janay Rice's slap. He has been branded as a "wife-beater" for an impulsive reaction that he has no prior public history of. Janay slapped him first, and he reciprocated. She then rushed again at Rice who was backing down by the point. Rice's reaction this time was much more excessive – and of course inappropriate. However, he had to do something to save himself from his onrushing fiance.
Rice Is Wrong, But Solange Is Not?
Solange Knowles’ unprovoked elevator assault on Jay-Z last month was conveniently brushed under the carpet. To decide who was wrong in that case one had to know the context of their argument, but that luxury isn't extended to Rice. Because he is a hulking man, he doesn't have the right to defend himself, and because Solange is a skinny woman, she can go about attacking anyone with the fullest of her force, and it's perfectly all right. Where's the logic in that?
The Brouhaha Was For Whose Benefit?
Both the parties in the altercation kissed and made up soon after that unfortunate incident in February. They even went home together that very night. Since then the two have gotten married and forgotten whatever happened between them. So what gives others the right to judge and try them for something that is put in the past by both the victim and the perpetrator?
Was It Really A Punch?
It may sound like a trivial detail, but there is little proof that what Rice hit Janay with was a punch – or a hook shot to be accurate. The CCTV footage is too grainy to tell for sure, yet the general consensus is that it was a punch. Not that it would make the impact any lesser, but what Rice cold cocked her with could have been a full-blown openhanded slap instead of a punch.
Even if it is assumed that Rice was in the wrong in every single thing, did the punishment handed to him justify his crime? The intense media clamoring forced the Ravens to cut him out against their wishes, and the NFL was forced to do the same.
In 2010, Janay "the poor victim" pleaded guilty for stealing a $1,000 dress from a store.
Reflecting back on the incident, she said: "I immediately started bawling. I didn’t want people to think I was a thief. I thank them because I’ve learned to grow thicker skin."
This was of course before Rice signed his $35 million deal with the Ravens. Once the big money came in, Janay knew he was the man to stick with. He gave her a diamond ring and a new car as her graduation gift.
“I almost passed out when he told me the car was mine," Janay said, "I’m just happy I decided to be nice that day instead of letting him get his own wallet,”
Now you know the reason #WhySheStayed.