Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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When it comes to professional sports leagues, they always jump at the opportunity to make an example of a flaw in the system. Whether it is drunk driving, racism, performance enhancing substances, marijuana usage or even gambling, the big boys love to put out the flame while the coals are still hot, but not in this case.
Last Thursday, the National Football League suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for the first two games of this coming season after he was arrested for beating his then-fiancé (now wife) Janay Palmer unconscious in a hotel elevator back in February. Donald Sterling is banned from the NBA for being a racist, Pete Rose is banned from baseball for gambling and even Josh Gordon is looking at a season long suspension for smoking weed, but you strike a woman unconscious with the proof on camera and all you get is suspended for two games? There is no doubt that the NFL got this completely wrong.
As I was driving into work today, the ESPN Radio program, “Mike and Mike”, had the NFL Senior Vice President of Labor Policy, Adolpho Birch, on the show to talk about and get the skinny on the controversy surrounding the Ray Rice suspension. As I listened to Birch back peddle about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision from the start, it was clear that this interview was just a PR move by the NFL to try and save some sort of face. While that seems great in theory, Birch got caught up in his own words.
Birch was continuously finding ways to upset me this morning, but there were two things in particular that steamed my beans the worst. First, Birch said that if Rice weren’t an NFL player, he wouldn’t be receiving any other punishment. According to federal law, domestic violence will be handled at either the local, state or federal level depending on the severity and the amount of occurrences. The penalty can result in anything from an arrest and jail time to a financial fine and restraining order. From the legal system to the NFL, boom goes the dynamite.
Secondly, Birch claimed that with the suspension that Rice received, it sent a message of what the league stands for. Ex-squeeze me? What? Even though Birch said that the NFL takes domestic violence very seriously, the integrity of the game while holding their substance abuse to a precedent is more of a priority than a man beating a woman senseless? That makes absolutely no sense to me and it probably never will. There is nothing wrong with the NFL being worried about the tradition and purity of the game, but when it comes to the purity of the people playing said game, isn’t emotional purity just as important as the physical kind? Get back to me when you have an answer Mr. Goodell.
If you ask me, there is no doubt that the National Football League dropped the ball on this suspension. They had the opportunity to make an example of scum like Rice and win over all of the women in the world, but they lost sight of what is morally right and turned a blind eye to reality.