September 08, 2014

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released: Remember the theory that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's soft punishment of Ray Rice was justified by something he saw on the in-elevator video? Not so much. Video obtained by TMZ shows Rice hits Janay Palmer, she hits back, then he hits her again and knocks her out.

posted by rcade to football at 08:48 AM - 64 comments

TMZ has put up enhanced camera footage of the Ray Rice fiance knockout filmed inside the elevator. It does not look good.

posted by beaverboard at 08:28 AM on September 08

It saddens me that she married him.

posted by Ricardo at 12:20 PM on September 08

"I thought about my chess story and wondered whether I had somehow played a role, however small, in the selling of a Ray Rice: Great Player & All-Around Great Guy narrative that now seemed so patently false. I thought about whether that said anything about my character, my instincts. I also thought a lot about my two daughters, about one day sending them out into the world and about the men who might someday come into their lives."

posted by yerfatma at 12:36 PM on September 08

Regarding Yerfatma's link, there's something that bothers me about sportswriters trying to explain an athlete's serious criminal transgressions. It always feels like the ultimate goal is to scrub up their image so we can get back to our regularly scheduled idol worship.

I'll never forget the Super Bowl where anchors Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms relayed Ray Lewis' feelings about the murders of two men and his role in the crime, which he had apparently said to them off-camera. It was a gauzy treatment that was intended to make one of that game's biggest stars look good. To make Lewis look better, they expressed how he wanted to "someday" contact their families, as if that in any way could come close to making things right after he (at best) covered up the murders.

posted by rcade at 01:44 PM on September 08

Ray Rice's contract terminated by Ravens

posted by BornIcon at 02:28 PM on September 08

Ray Rice suspended indefinitely by the NFL

posted by phaedon at 02:51 PM on September 08

The league might as well answer the question of who knew what and when regarding this video, because either the media, law enforcement, or attorneys will have it reconstructed and spelled out before long.

Please, no one ask John Harbaugh for his thoughts on this. Heard enough from him already.

As popular and successful as the NFL still is, there are moments when I think that this league is not that far removed from going into a public perception tailspin that no amount of pink ribbons and shoes, shows of support for the military, and community service youth programs would be able to overcome.

posted by beaverboard at 03:24 PM on September 08

I think this was an overreaction by the Raven's since I'm more than sure they were made aware of what was on the video. It was already known that Ray Rice hit his then-fiance but now that the video of it came out, it's more damning?

IMHO, if it's made apparent that Roger Goodell saw the video, suspended Ray Rice only 2 games and now suspended him indefinitely because the video became public and he can save face for the weak 2 game suspension, I'm going to assume that he'll be out of a job as well.

posted by BornIcon at 03:39 PM on September 08

"Mr. Rice, we saw the video and what you did was terrible, but as long a it doesn't go public, we'll only suspend you for two games because the crime of knocking out your girlfriend is pretty bad, but not that bad. If it does go public, we'll have to suspend you indefinitely for the much more heinous crime of generating bad PR for Football."

I imagine it went down something like that.

posted by Joey Michaels at 03:58 PM on September 08

The NFL also took action, saying on Twitter that commissioner "Roger Goodell has announced that based on new video evidence that became available today he has indefinitely suspended Ray Rice."

What the fuck did they think happened in the elevator that would cause her to be knocked out and allow him to drag her limp body from the elevator?!

Do they think she took a swing at him, missed, and knocked herself out? Do they think he faked a punch, she flinched, bounced her head off the wall, and knocked herself out?

Unless Goodell is the dumbest motherfucker on the planet, he had a good idea what happened in that elevator (in general terms), so this video shouldn't really have changed anything. The only reason Rice has been suspended is because now the NFL looks REALLY bad for that lame two-game suspension after everyone can see exactly how Rice knocked her out.

posted by grum@work at 04:03 PM on September 08

NFL.com is roughly the only football related site on the internet where you can't see this film.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:10 PM on September 08

$

... all that really matters. Be it NFL, NCAA, ...

One would have to think the NFL, Rice, and the Ravens "people" went to great lengths ensuring this video was never released.

Whoever did release the video is no doubt sitting on a pile of TMZ cash today. Have to wonder whether it was worth it having messed with one of Ray Lewis' crew, however. People who do so have limited life expectancy.

posted by cixelsyd at 04:13 PM on September 08

The only reason Rice has been suspended is because now the NFL looks REALLY bad for that lame two-game suspension after everyone can see exactly how Rice knocked her out.

Exactly! So now Goodell thinks that suspending Rice indefinitely will make people forget that he initially suspended him 2 games.

I can't wait to see if the NFLPA gets involved in this seeing as Rice was already handed a suspension (albeit a weak one) and is being punished even more so because TMZ leaked the entire video.

posted by BornIcon at 04:15 PM on September 08

The really shitty side notion out of this is that the NFL needed video evidence to corroborate that spousal abuse really was bad enough to warrant an indefinite suspension. He hit her hard enough to knock her out. Regardless whether she hit him back, he's bigger, stronger and trained for violence.

This should be Goodell's time to get the fuck out. The disciplinary system in the NFL is completely void of any attachment to reality or morality. You set the culture, you deal with the fact the culture is one building bullies on and off the field. You're failing, commish.

posted by dfleming at 04:57 PM on September 08

Exactly! So now Goodell thinks that suspending Rice indefinitely will make people forget that he initially suspended him 2 games.

Goodell isn't working out. It's time for the NFL to begin thinking about new leadership.

posted by rcade at 05:07 PM on September 08

I love football. I love watching it, I love pouring over stupid stats, I love reading expansive and florid description of great games past and present. The last couple of years have made me feel bad about loving it - like I'm supporting brain damage, spousal abuse, animal abuse, etc when I'm watching. This two game suspension to indefinite ban thing has knocked the last bit of wind out of me. Yesterday was not a bad opening day, but I think I might take the next few Sundays off. I don't imagine I'm the only person feeling this way.

That's going to be Goodell's legacy, I think. Fans walking away - maybe not forever, but for a while.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:52 PM on September 08

A video of Ray Rice doing a boxing work, apropos of little.

posted by Bonkers at 06:02 PM on September 08

The last couple of years have made me feel bad about loving it - like I'm supporting brain damage, spousal abuse, animal abuse, etc when I'm watching. This two game suspension to indefinite ban thing has knocked the last bit of wind out of me. Yesterday was not a bad opening day, but I think I might take the next few Sundays off. I don't imagine I'm the only person feeling this way.

You're not. I've been there since the initial lacklustre response. Entertaining as it is, there is a tipping point where the bullshit you have to accept gets to be too much. I passed it with Ray Rice.

posted by dfleming at 06:25 PM on September 08

The Ravens tweeted this on May 23: "Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident." It stayed up until today.

posted by rcade at 08:33 PM on September 08

If anyone associated with the Ravens saw the elevator video before that tweet they also ought to be suspended from the NFL indefinitely.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:36 PM on September 08

Apparently the NFL went only to law enforcement to request the video, not to the Casino, who say they would've gladly shown them the tape.

posted by dfleming at 07:24 AM on September 09

What the fuck did they think happened in the elevator that would cause her to be knocked out and allow him to drag her limp body from the elevator?!

That was my question as well. Maybe it's due to the FXX Simpsons marathon, but the only extenuating circumstances I can imagine is the fall the French waiter takes that clears Freddy Quimby in "The Boy Who Knew Too Much".

Goodell isn't working out. It's time for the NFL to begin thinking about new leadership.

The problem with that is he isn't working out for us the fans. From the owners' perspective, income is through the roof during his reign.

posted by yerfatma at 09:44 AM on September 09

It is baffling to me that these consequences weren't dolled out originally. Who would've complained if this had been the original punishment? A handful of Ravens fans who would've been silenced as soon as the video leaked. Instead, the league and team piss off everyone with uneven punishments that look like they are only protecting their bottoms and bottom lines. So it looks like the League wanting to protect it's stars but then the league is still crushing players for marijuana. I realize there is language in the CBA specifically regarding marijuana but Goodell has shown no qualms about flexing his power before. Who is going to turn away from their fandom because Josh Gordon got his suspension reduced or removed?

The motivations have always seemed very clear when it came to the NFL and Goodell but this year it seems like he just let go of the wheel.

posted by tron7 at 10:36 AM on September 09

Apparently the NFL went only to law enforcement to request the video, not to the Casino, who say they would've gladly shown them the tape.

The NFL seems to operate with the same investigative rigor as my 8-year-old looking for his lunchbox.

"Where's your lunchbox?" (turns in a circle) "I don't know. I guess I lost it." "Is it in your backpack?" "No, I must have lost it." "Why don't you check your backpack?" "Oookaaay, but I probably lost it." (takes lunchbox out of backpack) "Maybe you should actually look next time?" "I guess..."

posted by Etrigan at 11:13 AM on September 09

I can imagine is the fall the French waiter takes that clears Freddy Quimby in "The Boy Who Knew Too Much".

-It's a bowl of shaudere , sir. -Wait a minute, come here. What did you call it? Say it loud enough so everyone can hear. Come on, say it... -Ahem. Shaudere. -It's "chowdahhhhh." Say it right!

I read today that the hotel had the video, but no one ever asked to see it. Went with the don't ask, don't tell theory.

posted by Debo270 at 04:02 PM on September 09

I guess I'm the lone wolf here, because I think that:

1. Domestic abuse isn't solely a male on female problem As much as archaic and sexist people like to pretend otherwise, the apparent truth is that domestic abuse is fairly gender neutral, with each gender having roughly equal splits as offenders. I've seen studies suggesting a 40/60 female/male split, as well as ones that suggest more severe physical violence actually skews towards female perpetrators (indeed, apparently lesbian couples have the highest incidence of domestic abuse). It's certainly not unheard of for a woman to physically attack her mate, or to initiate violence, and I for one think the "but a MAN doesn't EVER hit a WOMAN" moral is old-fashioned and incredibly sexist.

So barring more information, it's reasonable to ask if she did in fact start or escalate things; the extended video on TMZ starts with us seeing Ray Rice on his phone by a large pole. His fiance walks up, hits him in the face or chest without apparent provocation, then they head into the elevator, after which she apparently slaps at him again while they were standing by the buttons, he slaps her back, she then comes at him when he delivers the knockout blow. That, at east, is how I see it.

Now, that said, his reaction afterwards is... well I'll admit it's kind of weird because he doesn't look particular... upset? Which makes me wonder if they've been this volatile before, or if he thinks at first she's faking, or whatever. But then, that's me projecting my thoughts of how I'd react, so it's not very meaningful.

2. Don't hit people if you don't want to be hit I mention this as an addendum to the above, only because I think it's important- and perhaps you'll think me a caveman, but if I went up to an NFL player and took a swing, no one would feel bad if I got knocked out. So if you think it's bad when he defends himself from a woman who is slapping at him and coming at him because she's a woman... then you are being sexist.

3. Janay Rice is apparently on Ray Rice's side As much as we might hate to admit it, Janay Rice allegedly went on to say (as BornIcon noted in that deleted tweet) that she regrets the role she played in this whole event. I don't understand why, if that's true, the tweet should have been deleted, or is shameful, other than believing some RadFem nonsense about how all women are Victorian-era delicate flowers and all men- especially black men- are savage beasts of lust and rage.

I don't believe that, so I think it's hardly implausible she genuinely regrets the night. Maybe she does honestly feel she did things to provoke him until he finally slapped/hit back. Or maybe she just wants this to go away, since as he is now her husband she certainly doesn't want their household taking such a severe financial hit. And she didn't seem to hesitate to continue with the wedding, so this may have been a one-off event that hadn't happened before or since and thus she forgave him whatever sins she feels he committed- or she may feel she instigated things and now they've escalated beyond her control.

This doesn't excuse his actions- or hers- and obviously the state has a vested interest in pursuing domestic violence investigations despite the protestations of an alleged victim (because there could be additional force involved in making them ecant, or change their story, or want charges dropped). But to me, it suggests- along with the video- that Janay Rice thinks this was at worst an isolated incident, and one she may or may not have provoked in some fashion, and therefore the law felt that a first-time offense would be best addressed by mandating court-supervised counseling and dropping the charges.

In other words, if Ray and Janay and the police and the courts think this is a settled issue (unless it happens again), then why should the NFL be suspending Ray Rice additionally, months later, just because a sleazy online tabloid wants to milk it for a little more ad revenue?

4. The NFL is not a legal, investigative body The other "scandal" is that the NFL is to blame because they "only" talked to law enforcement and thus didn't get the more complete video... why, exactly, is that bad?!? Shouldn't law enforcement *be* the experts on conducting a thorough criminal investigation? I'd hope the police would talk to the casino and get all relevant media, such that the NFL then asking the police for video would reasonably be as broad a request as expected. So why the idea that the NFL fucked up or covered things up by not, I don't know, guessing that there was extra video and requesting it? They aren't an investigative body, that's what the police and courts are meant to address.

There are allegations that some in the NFL office did know about the extended video, but unless I missed some damning piece of evidence, we don't know for a fact that Goodell or others had seen the video at the time the 2-game suspension was handed down. Further, I still maintain that the video isn't as damning as you'd think; we see them have an altercation that- from the video- she started or participated in; Goodell may have seen it, and said "Well, she swung at him, this is messy, we'll give a token PR suspension but otherwise let the courts handle it". Which... I only disagree with from the perspective of handing out any suspension.

5. Terribly unpopular opinion: why should the NFL do anything? Here is, I guess, my really unpopular opinion: why, exactly, does the NFL have to do anything here? The law investigated, rendered a verdict, and the involved parties have moved on. So why does the NFL have to revisit the issue, or extend their sentence?

I am genuinely frightened by this trend of the last few years in our online/offline world mingling, and I don't think it's a good trend for us to be living our lives in a Tumblr-driven, "Social (In)Justice" world where your every action is echo-chambered and every company and individual you interact with is required to shame and shun you to the greatest degree if the Internet Hate Machine has decided you are the public enemy of the day. At its worst, it's 4chan et al harassing to a criminal degree people who are innocent of the alleged crimes; even at its best, while things like Steubenville or animal torturers are tracked down because of the I.H.M., it still bypasses due process and is grotesquely uncivilized.

The legal system and due process addressed this Ray Rice/Janay Rice incident to the apparent satisfaction of everyone directly involved. The argument to support an indefinite suspension is that the NFL should take action against Rice... because otherwise they'll take a PR hit from "some people"... who think they should take action against Rice... lest they get a PR hit. It's all a circle jerk of righteous intolerance and manufactured outrage, and it's made me so disgusted with the state of the world. We have become the practitioners of "two-minutes of hate" Orwell predicted, and we fucking like it that way.

If law enforcement's pursuit of the case is such that the person is unable to maintain their job, that's one thing; if Rice goes to jail then obviously he can't play, thus nullifying elements of his contract. This was the bullshit reason why Barry Bonds couldn't even get a league-minimum contract in the few years after his final game; that at some point he'd be arraigned, tried, convicted, and jailed and thus wasn't worth "the risk".

But why should Rice's current employer take a stance at all, or suspend him- when he hasn't been convicted in anything but the court of public opinion- a kangaroo court whose only evidence was a shorter, and now this longer, video? The legal system initially claimed the video supported that both people were engaged in violence, and then indicted Rice, then dropped the charges in lieu of court-ordered counseling. His fiance/now-wife has blasted the media's focus, has (allegedly) "apologized" for her part in the events, and they've gotten married and moved on.

I hope Rice and the NFL Player's Union tackle this, because I don't see where the NFL gets off handing out belated, follow-up, indefinite suspensions just to satisfy public opinion on some viral hate-mongering.

posted by hincandenza at 01:06 AM on September 10

Domestic abuse isn't solely a male on female problem As much as archaic and sexist people like to pretend otherwise, the apparent truth is that domestic abuse is fairly gender neutral, with each gender having roughly equal splits as offenders. I've seen studies suggesting a 40/60 female/male split, as well as ones that suggest more severe physical violence actually skews towards female perpetrators (indeed, apparently lesbian couples have the highest incidence of domestic abuse). It's certainly not unheard of for a woman to physically attack her mate, or to initiate violence, and I for one think the "but a MAN doesn't EVER hit a WOMAN" moral is old-fashioned and incredibly sexist.

Most people think people shouldn't ever hit people - and there's a bigger onus on people with significant height, weight, and strength advantage to tread lightly. Provocation doesn't excuse everything that comes afterwards. You can't kill someone of ANY gender, for example, because they slapped you. Our court system takes a number of things into consideration when it levies a charge, including the broader context.

Look at the size difference between these two. Do you really think Ray Rice couldn't have held her off in any way without knocking her out?

I don't know where the statistics and "studies" you cite come from, but most conventional sources such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief suggest that 85% of domestic violence (reported and unreported) is against women. Statistics on sexual violence are overwhelmingly with males as the perpetrators (either against women, or other males.)

Rather than focusing on who the victim is, focus on who the perpetrators are - violence of all kinds skews heavily to male-on-someone crime. That a small percentage of this is women-perpetrated is such a perverse place to put your focus - focusing on 1 out of every 6.5 people who are subject to domestic violence and claiming sexism in the process? Good grief. Here's a tissue. When we've solved ANY of the majority's sexism and violence issues, perhaps we'll give you a call.

And yes, in many instances women recant or withdraw their complaints, for a whole host of reasons - people being battered has huge psychological implications in addition to the physical ones. It doesn't negate the fact that it happened, nor does it reflect any less on Ray Rice's public image being an incredibly important part of his job.

Finally, what he does with the ball is only part of his job - considering where revenue comes from in the NFL, it's about being an attraction. The NFL didn't suspend him because they are a court - they suspended him because, as a representative of the NFL (who receives millions of dollars as a result of the NFL's reputation and marketability), he has tarnished their image. People do not want to be associated with a league who willfully employs people who commit violence against women. People don't mind being associated with a league who willfully employs people who commit DUI. The court of public opinion does matter, because the NFL ceases to exist and prosper without it.

You can't separate Ray Rice, the millionaire who profited from the public's opinion on the NFL for decades before he got there, from Ray Rice, the guy who runs with the football today. Thus, the NFL has a duty to keep up with the public's morality because without them, they have absolutely jack shit.

posted by dfleming at 08:21 AM on September 10

hincandenza, you and I have gone at it a few times here, but I've always at least respected you as a human being. That is no longer the case. Fourteen hundred words on why it's not really that bad that a professional athlete knocked a fellow human being unconscious and dragged her out of an elevator by the hair, and it's somehow everyone else's fault that he lost his job?

*plonk*

posted by Etrigan at 09:46 AM on September 10

Don't hit people if you don't want to be hit I mention this as an addendum to the above, only because I think it's important- and perhaps you'll think me a caveman, but if I went up to an NFL player and took a swing, no one would feel bad if I got knocked out. So if you think it's bad when he defends himself from a woman who is slapping at him and coming at him because she's a woman... then you are being sexist.

A man savagely punches his fiance and knocks her out -- a blow that could have killed her -- and you're concerned about sexism against men? I'm not getting that at all. You are rationalizing what Ray Rice did with the suggestion he was defending himself, but he's a muscular 212-pound man in world-class athletic condition. Even if she had struck him first in the elevator, which she didn't do from what I saw, he could have defended himself without punching her. Jay Z managed to defend himself from Beyonce's sister when she attacked him in an elevator without assaulting her back.

In the '90s my wife spent months with domestic violence victims and perpetrators on an investigative journalism series for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Your perception that Janay Rice defending her now-husband likely means that it was "an isolated incident" runs contrary to what she learned in that story. Many women who are victims of domestic violence and stay with their abusers often recant their accusations or defend the abuser. There's a deeply dysfunctional psychology that plays out in these relationships. Some abusers are very good at manipulating their victims into thinking they're to blame for "provoking" them. Victims buy into the cycle of brutal violence followed by passionate contrition and think that's how a relationship is supposed to work.

Janay Rice could be the victim of ongoing domestic abuse and still say what she's saying today. We don't know based on the information available.

Sorry, but I prefer "a man never hits a woman" over "don't hit people if you don't want to be hit" as an operating principle for male/female couples. Men are generally much stronger and bigger than their partners. Men hit their partners more than women do. Men kill their partners more than women do. Nothing good comes from a man hitting a woman. If a man is being hit by a woman and he is more physically capable than the woman, he should remove himself from the situation. If he's less capable, he won't be able to punch his way out of the problem any more than a woman could.

I would never teach my sons that it's OK to hit a woman if she hit them first.

As for the NFL not needing to do anything in response to this, the league depends too much on the goodwill of fans, the media and corporate sponsors to ignore a crime of violence committed by a player. Some people find fault in the NFL extending Rice's suspension because of the new video, but the league is a for-profit business that is always going to protect its bottom line. Rice brutally punching his wife in the face is a PR disaster. Businesses in the midst of a PR disaster do everything they can to make it go away as fast as possible. Social media can make a PR disaster much worse than they used to be.

Look at the pro sports-catering company that had an exec caught on video abusing a dog. Their first response was to state that he "has agreed to attend counseling to address his anger management issues and has publicly expressed he is deeply ashamed and remorseful for his behavior." When that didn't stop the PR damage, a few days later they got his resignation.

Was it fair to give that exec a chance to save his job and then yank it out from under him? No. But if you've made your company take an ongoing financial and PR hit because of your criminal actions, at some point the company might decide to cut its losses. Sucks to be you. Sucks worse to be your victim.

posted by rcade at 09:56 AM on September 10

Many women who are victims of domestic violence and stay with their abusers often recant their accusations or defend the abuser. There's a deeply dysfunctional psychology that plays out in these relationships.

That. That one thousand times over. Plus add the fact that if Mrs. Rice acknowledges that she is the victim of brutal domestic violence, her husband stands to lose tens of millions of dollars. Think Mr. Rice's PR team had anything to do with her decision?

I've said it before here. I am a part-time prosecutor who only deals in domestic battery. I don't know where your statistics come from hincandenza, but my experience tells a drastically different story. For every woman I charge with DomBat, I charge 10 or more men.

And of course, the true overarching rule of life should be "don't hit people. Period." But as others have pointed out, archaic or not, the further rule that "a man never hits a woman" was borne out of the drastic disparity in our physiological makeup. Ray Rice probably has 80-100 pounds on Janay Rice, professional athlete or not. I'm not a big guy at 190 pounds, but I have 70 pounds on my wife. If she chooses to hit me, if I can't figure out a way to restrain her without knocking her out, I can probably figure out a way to get the fuck out of the room. So the line of "it's not fair, she hit first" sounds like the plea of a petulant bully.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:45 AM on September 10

she regrets the role she played in this whole event

Especially the part where her head acted as bumper to prevent his fist from getting scraped on an elevator wall. I don't understand the total lack of empathy that leads one to see a woman in what appears to be an abusive relationship "stand by her man" and think, "I guess things are fine then."

posted by yerfatma at 12:58 PM on September 10

*plonk*

Ooh, are we starting a hivemind?!

posted by tron7 at 04:50 PM on September 10

Yeah, I always was hoping this place would eventually turn into the cesspit of groupspeak that Metafilter became. Lord knows, no one who replied seemed to do more than cherry speak key quotes and strawman the shit out of this.

Plonk, indeed.

posted by hincandenza at 05:06 PM on September 10

Lord knows, no one who replied seemed to do more than cherry speak key quotes and strawman the shit out of this.

Classy.

I tried to give you the benefit of my perspective. Others did as well. But I guess you rolled in here with all the answers.

Your possible scenario of Janay Rice as the provoker got a little less likely today. Sources told ESPN that Ray Rice spat in her face twice, once outside the elevator and once inside, "prompting her to retaliate with movements that were ultimately countered with a knockout punch."

P.s. Do you really not recognize that your reference to "RadFem nonsense about how all women are Victorian-era delicate flowers and all men -- especially black men -- are savage beasts of lust and rage" was a total straw man? I let that slide, but if you're going to claim you were strawmanned we can go over all the arguments you refuted that no one is actually making.

posted by rcade at 06:00 PM on September 10

AP: Law enforcement official says NFL had Ray Rice video in April

See you, Goodell. Don't let the door hit you in the ass.

posted by dyams at 06:53 PM on September 10

Awaiting a vote of confidence or two in Goodell from the likes of Snyder, Hunt, or Haslam, which should seal the deal.

posted by beaverboard at 08:36 PM on September 10

hincandenza: You recognized you were a lone wolf, you stated that at least one of your opinions would be an unpopular opinion and then you're disappointed when people vociferously disagree with you?

Seriously, what reaction were you hoping for?

posted by Joey Michaels at 08:57 PM on September 10

5. Terribly unpopular opinion: why should the NFL do anything? Here is, I guess, my really unpopular opinion: why, exactly, does the NFL have to do anything here? The law investigated, rendered a verdict, and the involved parties have moved on. So why does the NFL have to revisit the issue, or extend their sentence?

They have to do something because they started "doing something" about it years ago.

My personal opinion is that many, many years ago the NFL made a HUGE mistake by deciding to apply punishment for actions that occurred outside the game and had nothing to do with the NFL.

The smart move when the first player was charged with DUI (or possession of dope or whatever crime) would have been to have the NFL commissioner to release a statement that said, essentially, all external criminal matters are for the courts. If the fans say "But he should be punished!", don't do it. Leave it up to the criminal courts to decide, and let the team decide if they want that player on their roster.

However, the NFL decided to be judge and jury about extra-league matters, and once that boulder started to roll down the hill, it can't be stopped now. Once you punish one player for something outside the game, how do you not punish the next one? Or the one after that?

And at what point will the NFL not punish a player? What if a player gets charged with tax evasion? Or illegal garbage dumping? Or 3rd degree public intoxication?

That said, I'm perfectly happy to see Roger Goodell get lambasted with negative public opinion for his role in all this. He seemed to relish the role of hanging judge, and now he's the one that's looking straight at the guillotine....

posted by grum@work at 12:04 AM on September 11

Seriously, what reaction were you hoping for?

Praise for his bravery in stating a contrarian position.

posted by grum@work at 12:06 AM on September 11

No, I figured I'd get plenty of disagreement since there was uniformity about how awful Goodell handed this, and why Rice should go, etc... not things like Etrigan saying he'd add me to his killfille. I thought this was a place where, so long as we weren't personally attacking each other, civil discourse and disagreement was possible. "plonk" is so classically MeFi, and I'm sad to see it here.

And I wish you wouldn't put words in my mouth, grum; you're better than that. You even stated my key point yourself just above: "many, many years ago the NFL made a HUGE mistake by deciding to apply punishment for actions that occurred outside the game and had nothing to do with the NFL". That was at the heart of my post: it had been dealt with as a criminal matter, and the NFL shouldn't even have gotten involved in the first place, much less months later just because of one media outlet. grum, you even opined on how the NFL should have handled these issues from the very beginning with a hands-off approach, and there's no reason they can't start doing. We very much agree on that point: the NFL shouldn't be involved in this or other criminal/civil matters that are off the field.

Further, I'm really not a fan of this broader trend in recent years, this PR-driven idea that until the angry twittering hordes have been sated in their lust for vengeance and biblical retribution, you simply must keep punishing private individuals in some publicly visible way. I mean, the courts already investigated this and handed down a verdict and judgment, and the couple themselves seemed to have moved on. That we're even revisiting this publicly, or with the NFL, seems ridiculous to me. You all can say that's how it is, but I'm saying that's not how it should be.

Lastly, the point I was making that people seem most het up about is that domestic violence is not a one-sided affair, whatever the exact stats, and that no one should have to suffer from domestic abuse simply because of their size or gender. I'm not suggesting if someone attacks you that you get to go medieval on their ass way beyond the point of deflecting/stopping the attack, but throwing a punch when someone comes at you is almost instinctual, and provided that's all it is- one punch- it's justifiable even if there's a huge disparity in size. That's what I saw on this recent video; as she comes at him he jabs out, she goes down instantly, and he doesn't keep hitting her. I even stated that I was a little concerned that he seemed unpanicked at her being out cold, but not being privy to all the details wasn't going to project ideas into Ray Rice's head.

Shit happens when people start fighting, that's why people should avoid starting fights (whoever started this fight, we may never fully know). But people still cling to these gender roles and ideas about male strength and an almost Victorian-era believe in the fragility of women such that they believe a grown woman should be able to freak out an attack anyone, so long as they're larger- the person attacked simply has to take it. Hell, when women attack men, even violently, it's a friggin' punchline, like we saw with the Solange/Jay-Z situation.

There's a clear double standard at work when it comes to male and female violence that I call "incredibly sexist". For example, we have Hope Solo arrested for attacking her sister and underage nephew back in June, and she's still on the playing field, setting records, while she awaits a November trial. So why is that not more of an outrage? You have a 32-year-old finely conditioned physical athlete in peak condition getting drunk and beating up two civilians in a domestic abuse case, yet she's not even suspended while the trial looms. But Ray Rice is re-suspended indefinitely by the NFL, even after they already suspended him, and even after his legal issues were resolved in what I'd say is the only meaningful arena, the court system.

Why?

posted by hincandenza at 01:42 AM on September 11

I'm not suggesting if someone attacks you that you get to go medieval on their ass way beyond the point of deflecting/stopping the attack, but throwing a punch when someone comes at you is almost instinctual, and provided that's all it is- one punch- it's justifiable even if there's a huge disparity in size.

I am 31. I have, in my life, never thrown a punch. I have taken a couple (both at bars.) The instinct that people feel in this arena seems to congregate over, and over, and over with the same people. The vast, vast majority of the population seems entirely capable of controlling it.

By the way - this is exactly the line of reasoning abusers take with people they abuse. It's my natural instinct baby and I can't help it - you just need to stop doing X, so I don't end up hitting you. It's bullshit blaming the victim. People who can inflict major damage have a greater responsibility to avoid doing so. What they do escalates too quickly.

For example, we have Hope Solo arrested for attacking her sister and underage nephew back in June, and she's still on the playing field, setting records, while she awaits a November trial. So why is that not more of an outrage?

A.J. Jefferson (formerly of the Vikings) strangled a woman this time last year and there wasn't as much play either - suspension was lifted quickly after it was levied. There's a popularity multiplier effect here - the NFL is way more popular than women's soccer, and even within the NFL, players are more well known than others. Further - in this case, the video has been widely shared and it really resonates with a lot of people.

The way you analyze why this situation is so raw for people to me seems like you're trying to validate a foregone conclusion on how "sexism" is affecting men negatively. You want to focus on the minority, or the individual situations like Hope Solo in a vacuum - meanwhile, across the country, the vast, vast majority of assault (based on actual cite-able statistics, and not "studies" which you don't cite) is perpetrated by men. You seem to have very little to say about that - but in a post where the "heart" is about the NFL sticking to punishment in its own arena, you have a whole hell of a lot to say about women's actions and roles in gendered violence.

It doesn't seem like the moderators are censoring you at all, so quit martyring yourself on not getting civil discourse here. Part of civil discourse is ignoring or blocking people whose opinions you don't like, including this MRA bullshit.

posted by dfleming at 07:42 AM on September 11

There's a clear double standard at work when it comes to male and female violence that I call "incredibly sexist".

I don't see anyone defending domestic violence by women. You have a good point about Hope Solo being treated differently within her sport by not being suspended ahead of a criminal punishment, but the biggest reason for less public outrage is that women's soccer has a much lower profile than the NFL.

As for the rest, I vehemently disagree with the idea that throwing a punch is "almost instinctual" or justifiable in any circumstance in a domestic situation. A punch isn't a defensive act; it's an offensive one. It does not defuse a situation, it escalates it.

When you rationalize that Rice's punch might be defensible because it was just one punch and she hit him too, it makes me question whether you've ever known a woman who was a victim of domestic violence. There are a lot of men beating on their much smaller, much weaker female partners. To me, that trend matters far more than all these other things you'd rather us condemn, like the NFL using disciplinary policies for PR damage control.

posted by rcade at 08:13 AM on September 11

throwing a punch when someone comes at you is almost instinctual

No, it's not. Unlike dfelming, I have been in plenty of fights in my lifetime and as far as I can tell that's not true. If Ray Rice attacked me I would react in a physical way, but even then the "instinct" you refer to isn't to strike, it's to avoid damage, so the first move is to evade and then if you are so inclined and the situation warrants, strike. But if Janay Rice came at me, there's no way some lizard brain reaction would immediately take over and I'd hit her with a closed fist.

provided that's all it is- one punch

Here's where things fall apart. You've written a lot in defense of men's right to kick some female ass as soon as a vague line is crossed because maintaining Ralph Kramden's right to send Alice to the moon is somehow more valuable than arguing for everyone to stop hitting anyone, but your foundation is sand: he spat at her and then hit her with your Chivalry Approved™ "one punch" because that's all it took. And then he started kicking her.

Hope Solo is a maniac with substance abuse issues who married someone even the NFL decided was too violent and too much of a domestic abuser for them. Like Ray Rice, she needs help. Unlike Ray Rice, we have yet to see what the courts decided. Unlike Ray Rice, she's barely recognizable to the average person on the street and does not play in a league where the commissioner makes a big show out of disciplining people for made-up transgressions (uniform violations, celebrations, etc).

There's a clear double standard at work when it comes to male and female violence that I call "incredibly sexist" . . . Why?

I don't know but my best guess is: because the people arguing your side of the issue made it up. Somehow equality for women feels threatening; pretty much everyone feels screwed in life. We didn't become famous, we're not fabulously wealthy, hell, we're not as wealthy as the neighbors and some people see that as an intentional fisting by an unseen hand. It's human nature for the oppressed to take it out on the people lower on the food chain and so women getting mouthy for equality feels like it means getting pushed even further back in the pack. I know all of this makes me a White Knight or whatever dismissive label the MRA kids are using this week to avoid any sort of introspection, but that's my answer to your question.

apparently lesbian couples have the highest incidence of domestic abuse

I was going to simply leave this as the closing line of my post because it seems to hateful and ugly, but here's my attempt at civil discourse in spite of what appears to me to be a turd in the punchbowl: What does this mean for you? Why include it? First of all, it's not an agreed-upon fact. Second, I'd guess if the studies were posted on this site we'd all be able to tear some holes in them right away: how would you control for the differences in socioeconomic factors and other bits especially when the comparison group is so much smaller than the overall population? How do you control for the fact lesbians may not be as afraid as their partners? The fact they're more likely to live in cities where reporting may be far easier?

But all of that is bull, because my real question is how do you hear (or ignore) something like this:

"The data presented in this report do not indicate whether violence occurs more often in same-sex or opposite sex couples. Rather, the data show the prevalence of lifetime victimization of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners. "
and not have your heart go out to people who are in shitty situations? I have a hard time reading that and thinking, "But how does this short-change me?"

posted by yerfatma at 09:03 AM on September 11

And I wish you wouldn't put words in my mouth, grum; you're better than that. You even stated my key point yourself just above: "many, many years ago the NFL made a HUGE mistake by deciding to apply punishment for actions that occurred outside the game and had nothing to do with the NFL". That was at the heart of my post:

I agreed with you. I don't think the NFL should have to do anything about this, if they hadn't already set a precedent.

Not everyone that responded to your post disagreed with all your points, and you shouldn't assume you are under attack all the time.

For example, we have Hope Solo arrested for attacking her sister and underage nephew back in June, and she's still on the playing field, setting records, while she awaits a November trial. So why is that not more of an outrage?

Does the US Women's Soccer Team have a history of suspending their players for incidents outside the field of play? If not, then I don't see what the double standard is about this. As for "public outrage" about her crimes, this is the first I've heard of it. As was mentioned above, are you expecting people to be outraged about a lower-tier sport that plays only sporadically (and rarely on TV), compared to the most popular sport in all of America that plays 3 nights a week on the highest rated television broadcasts?

Do you think assaults committed by Frontier League baseball players should get the same news headlines and public outcry as those committed by MLB players?

posted by grum@work at 10:14 AM on September 11

But people still cling to these gender roles and ideas about male strength and an almost Victorian-era believe in the fragility of women such that they believe a grown woman should be able to freak out an attack anyone, so long as they're larger- the person attacked simply has to take it.

No. But the disparity in strength makes it fairly easy for the bigger, stronger side of the equation to neutralize the situation without taking an action that is potentially lethal. And if you don't think a left cross from an 220lb musclebound man is potentially lethal, you're sadly mistaken. There's lots of ways for a large strong man to disable a woman without punching her. In my experience with DomBat, I have learned to recognize the signs of a man who is restraining an attacking female partner. There's bruising on the upper arms that is indicative of restraint, for example. There's bruising on the chest from a bear hug from behind, as another. An unconscious woman with a bruise on her face is not defensive.

Hell, when women attack men, even violently, it's a friggin' punchline, like we saw with the Solange/Jay-Z situation.

And that's fucked up.

no one who replied seemed to do more than cherry speak key quotes and strawman the shit out of this

Do you really believe that, or are you being deliberately obtuse?

posted by tahoemoj at 11:44 AM on September 11

I don't think the NFL should have to do anything about this, if they hadn't already set a precedent.

I agree with this as well and I think it's gong to be difficult to ever go back now. I don't know that it will ever happen at this point. I do know that this case would probably not be the best time to wash your hands of dispensing discipline.

Further, I'm really not a fan of this broader trend in recent years, this PR-driven idea that until the angry twittering hordes have been sated in their lust for vengeance and biblical retribution, you simply must keep punishing private individuals in some publicly visible way.

This bugs me even when I think the person who Twitter's Eye of Sauron is gazing at is deserving of scorn. I'm here for the protest but then it starts turning into a mob, flipping over cars and breaking in windows, and suddenly I'm not so keen on the cause.

There's a clear double standard at work when it comes to male and female violence that I call "incredibly sexist".

I guess I'm fine with the double standard. I don't think it's a product of sexism, I think it's a product of the reality of men being generally bigger and more capable of causing physical damage. If I seeing it become more of a problem going the other way I'll change my view.

posted by tron7 at 01:02 PM on September 11

If she was hitting me could I fight back. Not that it would help.

posted by Debo270 at 01:29 PM on September 11

And then he started kicking her

I don't recall seeing that but I only saw the video once but I haven't heard that he kicked her while she was unconscious. I do remember that when she was down, he had a look of disdain as if he was even more pissed that she was unconscious and was standing over her like he just trucked a FS to move the chains.

This entire situation went from bad to worse in 60 seconds even though as Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said, Ray Rice told the truth about what happened in the elevator, so should it matter if anyone from the NFL saw the video or not?

Rice was suspended 2 games, Goodell changed the rules after the fact and said that anyone charged with domestic violence would be suspended 6 games. What I don't get is if Ray Rice told the truth, was suspended 2 games, the video is then leaked by TMZ and then he's released from his contract and suspended indefinitely by the NFL, how can Goodell's actions be justified?

Of course Ray Rice should've been suspended by the league and if he was suspended for 6 games or a year I think most would say that it was deserved and would've been okay with it. However, I believe that Goodell's actions are a reaction to the video being released for all to see and that is not a sign of leadership for someone in his position of power.

posted by BornIcon at 02:07 PM on September 11

Rice was suspended 2 games, Goodell changed the rules after the fact and said that anyone charged with domestic violence would be suspended 6 games.

Goodell did not apply the six-game penalty to Rice when the NFL announced it. Rice was still on a two-game suspension when the video in the elevator was revealed by TMZ.

posted by rcade at 02:23 PM on September 11

Exactly my point. So why not suspend Rice for 6 games games as per new rules after the video was released? If Rice told the truth about what happened as Ozzie Newsome confirmed, how is suspending Rice indefinitely the correct thing to do? I assumed that he suspended Rice indefinitely because Rice lied but that doesn't seem to be the case. Something just doesn't add up.

posted by BornIcon at 02:26 PM on September 11

If Rice told the truth about what happened as Ozzie Newsome confirmed, how is suspending Rice indefinitely the correct thing to do?

It isn't, unless you look at it through the NFL's "Oh shit! Hit the panic button!" lens of public relations. That's why I'm all for the press roasting Goodell over an open flame for this whole bizarre collection of actions.

posted by grum@work at 02:30 PM on September 11

If Rice told the truth about what happened as Ozzie Newsome confirmed, how is suspending Rice indefinitely the correct thing to do?

I think the answer to that lies in the truth that Roger Goodell and the NFL don't really give a flying fuck about domestic abuse. Roger Goodell and the NFL do, however, give a giant fuck about the image of the league. So, when Rice was a guy who had hit his wife, it warranted 2 games. When Rice became a guy who had hit his wife on camera, the league invoked its right to disassociate itself from the person who had given it a publicity black eye.

To review: women with black eyes--2 games. Leagues with black eyes--indefinite. Does it add up now?

posted by tahoemoj at 02:34 PM on September 11

To review: women with black eyes--2 games. Leagues with black eyes--indefinite. Does it add up now?

Oh, I'm stealing that one for sure.

posted by grum@work at 02:41 PM on September 11

To review: women with black eyes--2 games. Leagues with black eyes--indefinite. Does it add up now?

Sums it up for sure!

posted by BornIcon at 02:46 PM on September 11

To review: women with black eyes--2 games. Leagues with black eyes--indefinite. Does it add up now?

Sums it up for sure!

To quote dfleming from above: The court of public opinion does matter, because the NFL ceases to exist and prosper without it.

posted by NoMich at 03:08 PM on September 11

If you're interested in statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, this PDF might be useful.

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:34 PM on September 11

If I have the chronology right, Goodell was frantically playing catchup when the league suspended Rice "indefinitely", since the Ravens had terminated his contract a short time before that.

Interesting that Goodell felt compelled to somehow appear decisive ASAP in this case, yet didn't move a muscle when the Patriots similarly terminated Hernandez, and still hasn't made a pronouncement on Hernandez' official league status as far as I know. Despite mounting evidence, three murder charges, and the passage of many months.

Part of me wants Goodell gone tonight, and part of me wants him to hang around just a bit longer, as I can't think of anyone better suited to preside over the eventual induction of Ray Lewis to the HOF.

posted by beaverboard at 09:15 PM on September 11

Interesting story today casting further doubt on the idea the NFL never saw the video before this week:

"A former NFL team security director who does not want to be identified told CBS News that in his career, there was never a case where he sought surveillance tapes from hotels, nightclubs or local law enforcement and did not obtain it."

Every NFL team hires a security director. A job description of the position states that duties include "personal visits to local casinos, night clubs, etc. requesting the cooperation of the establishments' management in the event a player or team employee is perceived as a potential problem."

posted by rcade at 10:12 AM on September 12

"personal visits to local casinos, night clubs, etc. requesting the cooperation of the establishments' management in the event a player or team employee is perceived as a potential problem."

Can this be translated as "ensuring that evidence of players doing stupid and/or illegal things is not leaked to the public?"

posted by bender at 11:03 AM on September 12

That's how I read it. The job reminds me of what the title character does on Showtime's Ray Donovan. He gets a call when a mega-rich client in Hollywood does something criminal or massively stupid and cleans it up before the press gets involved.

posted by rcade at 12:09 PM on September 12

Fixer - A person who uses influence or makes arrangements for another, especially by improper or unlawful means.

posted by BornIcon at 01:28 PM on September 12

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