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Ray Rice, Domestic Violence: The Video – Sensationalizing and Racializing a Social Problem

bal-nfl-to-review-ray-rice-case-under-personal-conduct-policy-source-says-20140218Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice, or rather ex-football player Ray Rice, has been let go following the release of a horrific video of him knocking out and dragging his then-fiancée, now-wife Janay Palmer-Rice.

The event occurred months ago. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a suspension from two games in July. This led to an outrage, calling for a harsher punishment against Rice. Recently, a video obtained by tabloid king TMZ was released to the public. In no time, mainstream outlets and social media made it viral. Soon, Rice’s contract was terminated presumably under the premise of watching the footage. Since its release, Mrs. Rice released statements ranging from apologies to depression:

“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that (the) media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his a** of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!”

There are so many people to blame for this whole matter. Ray Rice, of course, should’ve known better not to clock this woman as if she was a UFC fighter. Whether she provoked it or not is no excuse to almost put her in a coma, or worse.

I blame TMZ, a company all about (mostly black) celebrity tabloid drama that knowingly released the video for reasons speculated. I can assume Harvey Levin was more concerned about a way to profit from this problem as opposed to the actual beating as he is chuckling all the way to the bank with his millions. Whenever black people suffer, a white man somewhere will use it to make money.

I blame the NFL for thinking this is just a minor setback all the while praising Ray Rice for being a valuable player and a “nice guy” to boot. Maybe he is; I dunno. Still, that doesn’t exonerate him from hitting a woman.

Finally, I blame a culture where violence is idolized and where victims are shamed. We live in a world where if we punch someone in the face, we blame the person for having a face while excusing and supporting the one doing the punching! And someone would record the whole incident and post it online for a bunch of likes, shares, retweets, favorites, LOL’s, OMG’s and SMH’s.

So, Ray Rice is no longer playing. Now what? What will come of this now that he’s indefinitely benched?

We seem to think that kicking out a ball playing wife beater would be the end of it, but it’s not. Will Rice learn anything from this? Will he and his family get help? Will there be major changes within the NFL and how it deals with domestic violence as a result? There are so many questions to ask and so many things to consider that this is hardly a straightforward issue. Sadly, I fear this will fade away in a hot second until another face of domestic violence surfaces, and it will likely involve another black couple in the media spotlight which will start another color-aroused uproar.

Fox & Friends’ anchors, using all their worldly knowledge and tact at once, saw fit to poke fun at this incident. While citing Chris Brown and Rihanna and Jay Z and Solange, the crew jokingly saw that the message was that it was best to “take the stairs”. Keep in mind, they made references to famous black couples only.

In cases of domestic violence, or crime in general, in the world of sports or in Hollywood, more attention tends to focus heavily of black people and black couples. This problem with Ray Rice somehow set off yet another conversation surrounding this matter. I say ‘somehow’, because surprisingly – not really – there was never quite as loud a commotion when Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault – TWICE – from the media or from sports fans. And that is just one example.

Come to think of it, how many white athletes and white celebrities have you heard accused of rape, domestic violence and so forth right off the bat? My guess would be hardly at all. Even if it’s reported, it’s a quick blip on the radar, and then, it’s gone, unless it’s very serious like murder. Most white celebrity news, including those of the tabloid variety, are positive.

When the subject of domestic violence and rape are raised involving the rich and famous, usually black faces are plastered all over the media long and hard. This is not to say that we should minimize the impact of Ray Rice’s crime or domestic violence in general. But I can’t help but see it as a disguised attempt to turn this into a black pathology, demonizing black athletes as a whole, yet again, and con the public into thinking the mainstream media actually gives a damn about the matter of contention when it hardly screams whenever white athletes and white celebs do wrong.

In the end, if this problem is to be tackled honestly, blaming the victim, sensationalizing the issue and racializing it are all the wrong ways to go about doing it. I hope Mrs. Rice, as well as her husband, get some kind of help for the sake of their family without any mainstream interference and scrutiny.

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