A Punishment Befitting The Crime…

In February of this year, NFL star Ray Rice was spotted on camera allegedly assaulting his then fiancée Janay Palmer (now wife) in an elevator. An entire 5 months went by before Rice faced any form of repercussion. After the media released elevator footage of the assault, the story immediately hit national headlines. Rice was initially given a 2 game suspension, followed by an indefinite removal from the NFL.  Commissioner Rodger Goodell and the NFL took a more serious approach after being placed under fire by fans, saying that two games was just not enough.

Many people are also looking to Roger Goodell for answers as to why the situation was not addressed in a timely manner. There is strong speculation that Goodell knew all along about the elevator video and chose not to disclose information to the public. The commissioner is now facing a large amount of criticism from NFL fans along with advocates of women against violence organizations who are not pleased with his response to this serious matter. Many are now urging him to resign because he failed to report the incident when Rice was first spotted on camera.

I do not see why he would have to resign from his position because of the actions of another person, though I do feel a less hostile form of punishment should be taken. The reasoning behind Goodell’s resignation and Rice’s removal would be the negative image that Rice’s name has brought to the NFL’s reputation, along with the hand Goodell played in the timing of the incident. Even though these are serious concerns, I still stand by my position that the commissioner should not resign from the NFL, nor do I believe that an indefinite withdrawal from the NFL was fair to Rice. In explaining my argument I will use concepts from earlier lectures to defend my position.

In class we discussed reasons why countries go to war. We learned that there are 3 major points that influence a decision to take some form of action against another group or individual.

Interest: Wanting to be involved or a part of something

Fear:  Defined by Mariam Webster as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”

Honor: Being held in high regards.

These three themes also apply to the Rice/Goodell situation. The NFL is fearful that the assault of Janay Palmer along with no immediate action taken against Rice or Goodell would unconsciously indorse domestic violence by the NLF. This is an undesirable position for the organization to be in; yet, they must also take into consideration the positive endorsements, revenue, and fan base Rice has brought to the franchise throughout his career. This serves as a possible explanation for the less extreme approach of the initial 2 game suspension as a form of punishment for Rice. Honoring the right thing to do in this case is extremely difficult because there is a faint line between the best interest of Rice and his family and the best interest of the NFL. Some may say that this puts the NFL in a tight bind because they are tied to certain ethical standards they must adhere to along with the potential for a loss in profits.

In a case like this it is important to look at the relationship of Rice and his wife. Even though an assault took place, she still chose to go through with the marriage. It is never ok to physically harm one’s significant other, but it seems as though their problems are being resolved and they are trying to move forward. Attached is an article from People.com,( http://www.people.com/article/ray-rice-janay-rice-friend-loving-couple) describing Rice’s relationship with his wife. A friend of the couple said that they were one of the most loving couples she’d ever seen.

It is very possible that Palmer could be staying for several reasons other than the love her and Rice share. Including financial reasons and the best interest of their child. The one thing the resonated most with me was that since the assault in February, Rice’s wife has yet to file a complaint and they are still together. They even went on with the wedding and starting their family. Whatever the reason may be for her decision to stay she is showing the public that she has moved passed it, or at least is trying to. Something needs to be done to hold Rice accountable for his actions, but whatever is done should be a punishment befitting the crime. Rice has already filed appeals to get back in the league and Goodell is not budging from his position as commissioner.

This situation in particular, aside from it being sports related showcases the liveliness of politics everywhere. Even in sports. No one knows exactly what will become of Rice or Goodell but one thing for sure is, “The strong do what they will, and the weak suffers what they must.” But from the looks of things Ray Rice and Roger Goodell are not going down without a fight and I do not expect them to.

Family Photo
Family Photo