It was the punch "heard" 'round the world. At the beginning of this year, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice got himself in some hot water when a video surfaced of him dragging his unconscious (then) fiance from an elevator in Vegas. He managed to escape charges by enrolling in some anger management counseling and she later married him.
It seems like it was pretty common knowledge what he had done - punched her and knocked her out. Despite the video of him dragging her out like a duffle bag of dirty laundry, and despite the initial charges, the NFL essentially slapped him on the wrists with a 2 game suspension.
One might ask what a person's private actions have to do with their employment? For most of us, that may be the case. But highly-paid high-profile sports figures are the names and faces of the NFL, and the NFL (and the individual teams) don't want their names and their brands associated with wife-beaters. It's their prerogative.
Apparently, though, there's a difference between knowing what someone did and seeing it on video. Once the elevator-cam footage was released, all hell broke loose. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a moving picture worth many more - and the words said "this guy is radioactive". There was plenty of criticism leveled at the NFL
for not taking action sooner, and at the Ravens for propping up Rice all summer. Just like the photo of Weiner's weiner was more powerful than descriptions of a House Republican wearing a diaper while being serviced by a prostitute, the video of Rice caving in the face of his fiance was too much for the Ravens to defend anymore, and they finally cut him loose.
There are still some that think this brutality is okay, or blame the victim for staying with him. Then there are the jacktards at FOX "News" who laugh and say she should learn to take the stairs
. Because that's the kind of people who work at FOX "News" - after the bully beats up the weak kid, they're the cowards who laugh and give him a kick while he's lying on the ground crying.
There are some who are going the opposite direction - even in Baltimore, where they have to know this will put a big dent in the team's chances this year. One pizza place is even giving patrons bar credits
for their Rice jerseys, and donating money to a domestic violence charity.
The NFL recently ramped up their efforts to rein in violence by their players, both on and off the field. As physical as football is, with all the shoving and tackling, you cannot punch another player without facing serious punishment (that would be hockey). This is a good thing. The players would do well to note that there are cameras everywhere these days, for better or worse. Things they may have gotten away with before will sink their careers when they are trotted out for all the world to watch.