A Message From The Heart

Chris Schisler

I would first off like to say that I am deeply troubled by Ray Rice’s actions. That is not what this article is about, but it is the catalyst for what I hope to be positive discussion. I doubt that there are many people that don’t find Rice’s actions deplorable. I have never and will never find any acceptance for domestic violence in our society. This article is not about Ray Rice’s punches. If it were it would simply be white noise lost in the masses looking for blood. I want to talk to you about the aftermath, and examine how our culture has handled this issue. And before I continue I want to acknowledge that this is only one incident of many domestic violence incidents. This should be remembered through this discussion.

At first I strongly opposed the idea of writing this post, or for that matter anything about this issue. I thought that it would just be more fuel to a fire that does not need help burning. I felt that even the most politically correct message would cause a firestorm of attention that may not be good for my business. I guess you can say I made a calculated decision to remain silent on the Ray Rice situation and anything relating to it.

However, something stirred in me that took me off of this conscientious objection. When something like this happens involving the wrong doing of a public figure few are afraid to put in their two cents. There are opinions on every side of the issue and to each conceivable extreme. The non stop media pushing of this story is often masked in “trying to look at the bigger issue” or “bringing awareness to domestic violence.” While both statements have a nobleness about them the bulk of media attention does the exact opposite. Its all about getting your shot in on Ray Rice. Its fresh meat and everybody wants a piece.

The media savagely shows the horrible video every chance they get. They flood you with emotion until they get the masses screaming that Rice is pond scum and that his wife is his submissive hostage. The coverage is all about keeping the focus on Ray Rice because he has gained the obsession of the nation. Instead of learning from this and increasing awareness of domestic violence we are increasing anger at Ray Rice and disrespecting the victim, Janay Palmer and all the others affected by domestic violence.

I understand the inability to understand and respect Ray Rice but don’t disrespect his wife and his family. Don’t make the couple have to live under a rock to move on and raise their child. Nobody should issue Ray Rice a pass in fact he probably should be in jail. I am not defending Ray Rice when I say that his family should not have to suffer more because of us. They have enough trouble as it is. You may not understand why a woman would stay with a man who knocked her out. I can barely wrap my head around that my self. But please understand that it is her choice and its not our job to judge her. While I can never accept what Rice did, I don’t think he is a horrible person. I think he made a mistake and I believe he should take any and all consequences that come his way.

Ray Rice is human, he messed up beyond repair but he and especially his family are due basic human decency. The tape should not be aired. The crime should not be given nonstop scrutiny as it is one of many crimes under domestic violence umbrella. We must learn from this but we cannot change or control to what happened therefore we have run out of things to say.

The NFL and the Baltimore Ravens have botched the handling of this. Whether or not they had the ability to see the second video, the facts remain the same. We knew because of the police report that Rice hit his fiancé and mother of his child, knocking her unconscious. Video did not make it any more wrong; it was wrong from the start. We knew when it happened that Rice acted poorly and that he should have received severe discipline. The NFL and its subordinate the Baltimore Ravens screw up is that they waited for the video to take firm action.

Many are clamoring for Roger Goodell to resign or be fired over this incident. Keith Olberman of ESPN, has asked this not only of Goodell but of Ravens officials, Ozzie Newsome and Dick Cass. Olberman and many others believe boycotting the Ravens is the only appropriate action. This will serve no justice and do no good. The actions of Ray Rice are on him and him alone. It is not on Roger Goodell. It is not on the Baltimore Ravens. Ray Rice was the one who threw the punch, his life has been ruined; why does anybody else have to go down with him.

At the end of it all, Ray Rice saw his contract terminated by the Ravens and got even stiffer penalty from the league. The only person now accountable for Ray Rice’s actions is Ray Rice. Before this the Ravens were considered the model franchise of the National Football League. Ozzie Newsome and Dick Cass were revered as great men who set the example for their peers. They had nothing to do with the abuse, we can’t even prove that they covered anything up. The Ravens are a great organization and should have some benefit of the doubt.

I truly hope that we learn from this incredibly sad chain of events. Violence is never an acceptable practice. I know this is an incredibly sensitive issue. As a Baltimore based football blog, this post was unavoidable and I tried to write with with respect to all. Most importantly this message is from my heart. I will leave you with a short poem:

Love is love
Violence is violence
Both can hurt me or you
But only one is acceptable to do
So love

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