Being from New York I knew Warner Wolf. He was a sports anchor on a local television station. He had a signature slogan that he would yell out, “Let’s go to the videotape!” Yes it wasn’t too long ago that people would call it videotape. Before the days of YouTube and Vine and whatever else your fancy might be. Having watched the latest violence porn video that has been played over and over again on television and the internet I remembered Wolf’s signature line. It seemed as though the games, the plays, the results weren’t real until we actually saw them on television. Here was proof of the grand slam, the no-hitter, the perfect game.
Proof. But I mean, everything that was reported still happened, right? Wolf wasn’t lying. If a friend that was at a game told me that the home run was high and long and way outta the park, I’d believe them. I didn’t need to see the videotape. If I did see the video, it wouldn’t make the home run any more impressive or make it MORE of a home run. It wouldn’t turn it into a grand slam, it would just confirm what my friend had said. You probably know what I’m getting at. I hope. Ray Rice punched his then girlfriend out in an elevator. We have known this for a long time. We saw a video of Rice dragging her sleeping body out of the elevator, and using her body as a door holder. This we saw, over and over and over. He said he knocked her out, she said he knocked her out, the police said he knocked her out. So yes that’s what happened.
The NFL under the leadership Roger Goodell, just one of many spineless, mindless big league commissioners currently earning puke inducing salaries (44.2 million in 2012), decided that a player punching out a woman was worth a two game suspension. If you use drugs, it’s a lifetime ban and a trip to Siberia. Until now very few people in mindless NFL worship land, also known as the USA, had any problems with this silliness. Finally the great Keith Olbermann, came out and slammed Goodell for the lame two game suspension, calling it a travesty, and that’s exactly what it was.
So not long after this dumb as shit decision, Goodell reacted to the bad press and made it a six game suspension going forward for anyone who commits domestic abuse the first time. The second time is a lifetime ban. Much better right? Almost everyone applauded the decision. Goodell, (who wants to continue to make 45500000000000 times more than the guy making minimum wage and trying to support his family while watching the NFL every weekend as though it’s a religion), only really cares about that money so he reacts, after the fact. He knows that women watch the NFL as well, sometimes they even decide if their husbands can watch. Also there are sponsors to think about. So once again he reacts.
Then comes the latest video which shows the inside of the elevator and we see Rice punching his current wife and knocking her out. Shows him doing exactly what we all knew he did months ago. In what seemed like seconds, the Ravens release Rice and the NFL suspends him indefinitely. “The video changed things” is what coach John Harbaugh said. When asked exactly how, he did the usual coach thing and got chesty and tried to intimidate the person who asked the question. He pretended to not understand what the reporter was asking, like it was a question that made no sense. Harbaugh knows they got caught, that they either had seen all of the video months ago and didn’t do anything till it went public or he knew the team should have cut Rice after the incident first happened.
Goodell and company once again reacted. They are all incapable of doing anything worthwhile or morally correct on their own, without prodding and pressure from outside forces. This is called being worthless, spineless, and a coward. This is what these people are and it’s what their organization is. Since 2000 there have been over 70 players convicted of domestic abuse in the NFL and they received one game suspensions. Yes, you probably haven’t heard of any of them. That’s because there wasn’t a videotape. Something that actually showed how horrible domestic abuse actually is.
So what do the male athletes in the NFL now know? To make sure there is no video involved when they punch out their women. You might get a six game suspension if there is no video…might. But if there is a video you are done, gone, knocked out of the game if you will. This wouldn’t be the lesson if Goodell and the Ravens had done the right thing to begin with, the moral thing, without all of this external influence. But it’s no surprise that they didn’t. The NFL, like the country it represents is a neanderthalic entity. The overwhelming majority of the domestic abuse cases in pro sports come out of the NFL. When we hear about homophobic comments and bully players, they usually reside in the NFL. That’s why Chris Kluwe was such a breath of fresh air, but guys like him are overshadowed by the Ray Rice’s of the league.
Roger Goodell has shown he really doesn’t care about domestic abuse. He cares about image and money. The Ravens didn’t initially cut Rice because they wanted him on the field to help them win games and make more money. And while we are talking about money, I do not pretend to know what was going on in the mind of Rice’s wife when it came to staying with him and getting married to him. I have no idea. I do know that every woman that does not press charges and “sticks with their man” after domestic abuse, just makes it easier for the next guy to sock his wife. One would have to imagine that if Rice worked for minimum wage, she might have thought otherwise about staying with him. Who knows?
Now however Rice isn’t making any money. Not because he did something horrible but because there was a videotape of him doing something horrible.
The NFL and the USA. Where image and money always trumps morality and justice…and always will.