CRAWFORD | Ray Rice released, but why did it take another video? - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Ray Rice released, but why did it take another video?

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Now we can see it on tape. Today, we got a glimpse inside the elevator. We saw Ray Rice land a left cross that was so quick the security cameras couldn't quite pick it up. We saw his fiancee, out cold, drop to the floor.

Today we can see it, but we already knew what happened.

The NFL knew. Ray Rice told the Ravens what happened. Jason LaCanfora of CBS said the new tape of Rice punching his girlfriend is in line with the description Rice gave the team. We knew. They knew. Everybody knew. Everybody backtracked on Monday. The Ravens said they'd heard a "softer" version of the events than they witnessed in the elevator tape. The NFL said it had never seen the tape. My question: What exactly did they think happened in that elevator?

We'd already seen tape of Rice trying to drag his unconscious fiancee off the elevator and back to their room in an Atlantic City casino. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice for two games, a penalty so laughable that nobody accepted it as enough. Even Goodell in late July apologized to league owners for mishandling the affair, saying in a letter, "I didn't get it right."

But by then, Rice was moving forward. The new narrative had been laid out. He was apologetic. His fiancee, Janay Palmer, married him. They were taking classes. Rice got a standing ovation in his return to M&T Bank Stadium. The team's web site was careful to note that there were women in the crowd wearing his jersey, even stating, "he's a good man."

But one thing Rice and NFL image makers didn't count on was him running afoul of the three most powerful letters in sports.

TMZ.

The video hit the web, and that was it. The Ravens released Rice. The NFL suspended him.

In short, the response finally fit the crime. And it was a crime, by the way.

Now here's my question: Why does it take a TMZ video?

Why is everyone breathing so much fire because we've seen the video with our own eyes? Why wasn't the anger this swift and unified when the original video hit the web?

Here's the alarming part, and it isn't news. This happens all the time, and there is no video. This is an NFL problem, rich and powerful athletes against women.

Jameis Winston. Did you hear the tone of the press conference by state attorney Willie Meggs when announcing that the Florida State Heisman Trophy winner wouldn't be charged with sexually assaulting a women who was accusing him of rape because there wasn't enough evidence to secure a conviction.

ESPN's Samantha Ponder Tweeted during the proceeding, "Anyone else uncomfortable with the amount of smiling/laughter in this press conference?"

Answer: Not enough people.

Just play the game. Don't bother us with the details.

After Rice was suspended yesterday, ESPN trotted out Ray Lewis to talk about the matter. Ray. Lewis. The amount of tone deafness by many in all of this is hard to comprehend. The NFL. ESPN.

Ray Lewis? He was indicted for murder, but escaped two murder charges by cooperating with authorities, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. And he's going to to talk about Rice, whom he said he would speak to immediately, "I want to be the same mentor I was (to Rice) since the first day he stepped in the door."

I think it's time for Rice to find a new mentor.

And it's time for the NFL to wake up.

Domestic issues have too long been viewed as private affairs that have no bearing on society at large. We know that is not the case, especially in the NFL, which is the largest and most popular entertainment organization in the game today.

Charlie Strong, head football coach at Texas and formerly coach at Louisville, acknowledged that his first day on campus here. Among his core values, high on the list, at No. 2, are the words, "Treat women with respect."

What we got from the NFL today was this statement: "We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today."

You know what people are going to say. The league didn't realize it was this bad. The team didn't realize the "full seriousness." Palmer went on to marry Rice. On and on the arguments go.

Rice has been suspended, but he'll surely play again. Now, he'll just face the kind of lengthy absence that he should have before. Interestingly, many NFL players stood up to say Rice deserved harsher penalties, and they deserve credit for doing that.

But this whole suspension is more damage control by the NFL. Goodell strengthened the league's policy on domestic violence. But they're a long way from taking these events as seriously as they should.

Forgive my cynicism, but what this tells me is that the NFL doesn't care so much if you punch a woman. But it cares deeply if you punch a woman on tape.

Heaven help all the women for whom there is no tape.

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