Ray Rice Is Suspended…So Now What? Should Women Boycott the NFL?

Firstly, to start of this blog…if you have NOT seen the Ray Rice video and/or know the story about what happened- here is the video that caused such an uproar yesterday. Ray Rice knocked out his then fiancée in a casino elevator and dragged her unconscious body in to the hallway. All of it was caught on camera, and when all of this news first surfaced the NFL ONLY suspended him for 2 games as his punishment for breaking the law and abusing his significant other. It was felony assault. There were even bigwigs in the sports industry saying that maybe his 2 game suspension was too harsh….and maybe Janay Rice shouldn’t have provoked him in to hitting her…

One punch and she crumples like a rag doll. Self defense, Ray Rice? Really? Sure the two were scuffling, she hit him after he spit in her face….but to me he appears to be a man who has hit a woman before, whether he knocked her out or not. I’m not entirely sure what disturbs me more- the punch or how cold and inconvenienced he acts that he now has to get her out of the elevator. How dare she be unconscious, right Ray? Now you have to do some work to get her to the hotel room. How dare she start crying when she wakes up, right Ray? She has nothing to cry about. There’s no remorse, no kind of emotional reaction – just coldness.

Domestic abuse of any kind is not okay- whether it comes from a female to a male, or a male to a female. There is never an excuse to hit your significant other. Never. But the act of a professional football player hitting his fiancée so hard that she blacks out is absolutely vile. There is no room in society for a man who lays his hands on a woman. None. He could have killed her. He could have given her brain damage. I’m also aware that his now wife is standing by them and they’re trying to “work things out”- that is her choice to make. She has her reasons for making those choices. That still doesn’t make what he did okay.

Shortly after the video started making the rounds on the internet and other media outlets, and the public outcry for more punishment for Ray Rice became deafening, the Baltimore Ravens cut him from the team and the NFL followed suit by suspending him from the league indefinitely. Mind you- that’s not a lifetime ban….it’s just a “well you can’t play for now…let’s wait until all of this blows over” suspension. It’s all fine and dandy that the Ravens and the NFL finally decided to do what was right and not let this man be glorified on a football field and make millions of dollars, but it’s a big fat case of “too little, too late.” Everyone knows- EVERYONE- that the only reason these punishments came down yesterday was because the PUBLIC was finally seeing what really happened in that altercation, not because he did it.

I had a conversation with my boyfriend last night about all of this hubbub going on and he was telling me about an article he read where women were calling for other women to boycott the NFL. While I personally don’t feel like the other teams in the league should have any kind of accountability or blame or anger put on them, because Ray Rice wasn’t on their team and it wasn’t their responsibility to discover the entire truth and hand out punishment, I can’t say that I would blame women at all for wanting nothing to do with the NFL. Roger Goodell’s actions were a clear-cut acknowledgement that as long as nobody finds out about it- it’s okay to uppercut your soon-to-be wife on an elevator. This coming from the commissioner of a league that is trying desperately to get women more involved in the game. I love football. I love nothing more than to spend my weekends eating good food and having a few beers and watching games all day. I’m taking part in two fantasy football leagues – but there is a part of me that doesn’t want to watch on Sunday, or Monday night, because what I saw in that video makes me sick to my stomach.

Should women boycott the NFL? I’m not going to say yes or no. I’m going to say that it should be a personal choice for females that enjoy the game and watch the game, but I’m not going to blame any female that feels like taking that route. In a few short weeks it will be October- breast cancer awareness month- and the NFL will be peddling all of their pink gear to everyone. The players will have their pink cleats and gloves, the coaches will have their pink hats or ties, and the league will be telling us- females- to buy their pink shirts and pink jerseys….”we CARE about women! Buy these things!” — obviously they don’t care about women, though.

There’s still a lot of information yet to come out about the circumstances of this video. Did the NFL see it? Did the NFL have the opportunity to request the tape to see what happened on the inside of the elevator? Did they cover up the extent of the altercation and try to lay some of the ‘blame’ on Ray Rice’s wife so that the backlash on him wasn’t as extreme? Did the Ravens turn a blind eye to his action because they just wanted the money he would make them and didn’t care about his off field actions? A lot of these questions have to be answered. Some of them may not ever get answered. I do know, or feel, that if all of it WAS a cover-up more people than Ray Rice need to be losing their jobs. The Ravens and Roger Goodell have been a disgrace in how they have handled everything. They dropped the ball, they were lazy, and now they’re having to scramble and cover their tracks. This not only affects the Ravens or Goodell himself, it affects the entire league.

I wonder what Roger Goodell would have done if that video from the elevator had been one of his players knocking out one of his daughters? Would he have let him get off with a slap on the wrist, a pat on the back for saying he’s going to be better in the future, and carried on?

And shame on the NFL for trying to convince women that they care about us.

Also, I’m aware that there have been many, many other professional football players that have done illegal things. There are murderers, drug dealers, drug users, guys with DUIs, etc. I’m aware, but they’re not the topic of discussion right now, so I’m not choosing to focus on them. Their crimes aren’t directly related to this particular incident. Do I think some of them should be playing and some of them shouldn’t have been punished as severely as they were? Sure. That’s a whole different blog, though.


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