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Sports Authority

No one wins in Rice video drama

| Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The elevator video was released, and then Ray Rice was, too.

Justice, right?

But Ray Rice is not the only person hurt by the release of the video in which he brutally punches his then-fiancée and now-wife Janay Rice and drags her out of a casino elevator. He’s not even the person most hurt by it.

Ray Rice’s reputation is irrevocably stained, and his professional career could be over. But don’t forget the woman battered in the video, plastered all over the Internet for everyone to see.

Janay Rice posted Tuesday morning on her Instagram account in response to the release of the video and ensuing media attention, The Baltimore Sun reported.

She wrote, “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.”

TMZ released the video to the public, and now we all can watch what surely is one of the single worst moments in Janay Rice’s life.

Before the video surfaced, Ray Rice was slapped with a two-game suspension. If it weren’t for this video, Ray Rice would still be employed by the Ravens.

But seeing evidence that graphically illustrates the extent of his wrong-doing changes the circumstances. The initial consequences dished out to Ray Rice look absurd in light of the video. Now, Rice has been suspended indefinitely.

It shouldn’t have come to this. TMZ shouldn’t have had to circulate the video of Janay Rice’s assault for the NFL to take meaningful action. If the point of publishing the video is to expose Ray Rice’s violent behavior, that has been accomplished, but it also places a psychological and emotional burden on his wife.

It is unclear what exactly happened, in terms of the NFL’s knowledge of the video prior to its public release.

Why couldn’t the NFL investigate and find this video in its entirety before TMZ did? If the NFL knew of the video or had it, why couldn’t this have been handled responsibly and internally before Janay Rice’s pain was made public in such a callous way — through a media circus? If the NFL couldn’t get access to the video because of an ongoing investigation, why did TMZ get hold of it?

Maybe the video would have come out even if the Ravens and the NFL had taken more meaningful action earlier after seeing and discussing the video evidence.

But the fact remains that it shouldn’t have taken a move by gossip site TMZ for the NFL to find out what truly happened or dole out punishment more appropriate than a two-game suspension.

Yet it did. And that has made things much, much worse for the NFL and Ray and Janay Rice.

Janay Rice’s Instagram post continues:

“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!”

It is their life. And now we all have an ugly moment of it, easy to view on TV or our computers.

The NFL has taken steps to implement a new policy that cracks down on domestic violence: a six-game unpaid suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense.

That’s a great step, but how the NFL institutes the policy determines whether the change makes a difference. If a case similar to this one emerges, hopefully it will be handled in such a way that it doesn’t emerge into a media circus.

A circus on an issue like this hurts everyone involved.


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