Ray Rice's punishment for rendering his fiance unconscious says a lot about our society
Last February I saw a video of Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, online that was so shocking to me, I thought for sure Rice would serve prison time. Rice got into a fight with his fiance and hit her so hard that she got knocked unconscious. The video shows Rice attempting to drag her body back to their room.
Rice was arrested, charged with third degree aggravated assault that carries a jail sentence of three to five years and a fine of up to $15,000. Rice’s lawyer referred to the incident as “a minor physical altercation.” Rice pled not guilty and did not stand trial since it was his first offense.
He agreed to a “diversion program”, most likely anger management or domestic violence classes. Last Thursday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodall suspended him for two games. That’s right, two games.
Goodall also fined him $58,000. A drop in the bucket for an athlete who just signed a five year contract and is set to earn $4 million this season. In fact his two game suspension is costing him over eight times that amount, $470,588 according to Forbes.
It’s hard for me to accept that Michael Vick spent three years in federal prison and suspended indefinitely for killing pit bulls and owning a dog fighting ring while Ray Rice is spending time in counseling.
I’m a dog lover myself, but three years in prison for Vick’s crime compared to virtually getting away with injuring a woman to the point of her being rendered unconscious is so insulting. It’s also upsetting to me that Rice’s fiance, Janay Palmer, married Rice on March 28, 2014, it’s something I just can’t fathom.
Domestic violence is pervasive throughout our society, however it seems the punishment rarely fits the crime. R&B singer Chris Brown beat Rhianna to a pulp. The photographs were horrific. Brown has continued to violate his light sentence of probation and Rhianna was even seen in public with him several times.
Rhianna also collaborated on a hip-hop song with Eminem with a song called “I Love the Way you Lie,” all about glorifying domestic violence. My stomach turned when I heard that song and I’ve even heard it as cell phone ringtones of women.
ESPN commentator, Stephen A. Smith went on a rant blaming women for causing domestic violence. It got him suspended from ESPN for one week. He has apologized and said it was one of the biggest mistakes of his life.
Before this infamous rant, I didn’t even know who he was. Now he has made a name for himself and will probably be more recognized in public and as a commentator.
Roger Goodall stands by his short suspension of Ray Rice. Meanwhile Cleveland Browns player, Josh Gordon, has been suspended for an entire season for failing a drug test that exposed marijuana use.
I don’t think I will ever understand the disparity and sexism that we see in domestic violence cases. Not to mention the way it’s practically glorified or simply dismissed in pop culture. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for the leniency of Ray Rice’s punishment, suspension and fine.