Ray Rice and why the the NFL is a crappy institution

Carlos Holguin

For seven months, the National Football League has been dealing with the increasing fallout and pressure from the public in a response to a video showing Baltimore Ravens running-back Ray Rice assaulting his then fiance, now wife in an elevator.

When the original video of Rice dragging his fiance out of an elevator surfaced in February, it took two months for the NFL to deliver a two-game suspension. In that time, Rice was charged in court and attended a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the events that happened in the elevator.

The public began to question the decision of the NFL. This is an organization that donates money to the National Institutes of Health and Cancer Research. How can these players, who dedicate their lives to pummeling each other for the enjoyment of others, possibly be violent, illegal or enjoy hurting innocents?

The problem goes beyond Rice, though, with things getting so out of hand, that the NFL no longer knows what to do. Players are being arrested from drug trafficking to domestic abuse and, according to the USA Today NFL arrest archive, only three of the cases were resolved so far in 2014.

Consistently putting its foot in its own mouth has backfired to the point that doing nothing would be a much better option than saying sorry. You’re a professional organization, you cannot just say that you messed up and will do things to make sure it doesn’t occur next time when the same events happen almost on a monthly basis.

A two-game suspension isn’t enough punishment for accusations of domestic abuse, and it sends the wrong message to viewers. The indefinite suspension (which Rice is currently trying to appeal so he can go back to playing) should have been the original punishment. Yes, you said you will change your system to better meet punishments for the crime, but if the system wasn’t working in the first place, then you should have changed it.

A story shouldn’t have to reach national news before someone does something. Players shouldn’t be selling drugs, drinking while driving or hitting women and children in ways that they wouldn’t hit other players.