Thoughts On Ray Rice Suspension
The NFL suspended Ravens running back, Ray Rice, for two games. This obviously is not a popular decision. There is much uproar that the suspension was a slap on the wrist, that it did not match the colossal mistake that got Rice into trouble. Rice of course punched his fiancé (now wife) knocking her unconscious. What Ray Rice did was very wrong and this suspension is rather light. Did the NFL make a mistake?
First we need to understand how the NFL conduct policy works. The conduct policy is all part of the CBA between the Players Union and the National Football League. The punishment for getting in trouble increases with the number of offenses. First time offenders typically get 2 game suspensions. Anytime a union is involved there are precedents and procedures involved that can sometimes conflict with what is determined fair.
Ray Rice is a first time offender and in the process of the league punishing him- to my knowledge- this is more important than the actual offense.
The commissioner of course is the judge, jury and executioner in handling player misconduct. Though if he operates outside the parameters of the normal procedure, it can make life a living hell. You don’t have to agree with the level of punishment but you have to see why it was administered.
Let me be quite clear. I am in no way defending Ray Rice. I consider his actions to be appalling. I do not believe a man hitting a woman is acceptable in any situation. I am simply agreeing with the National Football Leagues adherence to the procedures in place. If Goodell suspended Rice for much longer it would certainly understand. It would however be a dangerous precedent however.
Ray Rice has several things that surely helped his cause. Even after the incident Ray Rice married his fiancé. She stood by him and that speaks volumes about Ray Rice. Also who has not done something horribly stupid in their life, they wish they could take back? We all make mistakes. There is no evidence that this is an ongoing abuse issue-it was a one time mistake. Mistakes happen and Ray Rice has to deal with this one for the rest of his life. If he truly loves her, it will always weigh heavily on his heart.
This suspension does not change anything for the Ravens perspective. They knew that Rice would be suspended. The suspension was typical and routine. Ray Rice may have deserved a steeper punishment based on the severity of his actions; however thats not how it works.