Archive for the ‘Football’ Category
The NFL’s Mindless Misogyny: Why Was Ray Rice Given a Slap on the Wrist for Beating His Fiancée? / The Daily Beast
Please note; since this article was written Ray Rice’s suspension has been vacated due to his winning an appeal see link below:
The below article was originally posted on The Daily Beast
Written by Robert Silverman
Professional football players can be suspended up to a year for marijuana, yet the Baltimore Ravens’ star running back was given a measly two-game suspension for brutally assaulting his bride-to-be in a video that’s gone viral.
This is a thing that happened. A man in peak physical condition, possessing strength that would put the average person to shame, was caught on video dragging his unconscious, much smaller fiancée (now wife) by the hair out of an elevator at a casino in Atlantic City.
What occurred prior has not been made public, but according to witnesses that spoke to Deadspin, the alleged assailant threw an “uppercut,” while another said he struck her “like he [would punch] a guy.”
Watch it here
*****Caution May Trigger*****
The gentleman in question is Ray Rice, star running back for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. Today, it was announced that as “punishment,” he will be suspended for the first two games of the regular season, and levied an additional fine of $58,000 in addition to a prorated loss of salary.
If you think two Sundays of sitting at home seems like a fairly light slap on the wrist for what by all accounts was a brutal assault, you’d be absolutely right, especially in light of the punishments that the NFL has meted out for other transgressions—namely those that concern performance enhancing drugs and/or controlled substances.
Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns is looking at a year on the sidelines for marijuana and alcohol use. Granted, he’s a repeat offender with what appears to be an actual substance abuse issue, but Ace Sanders, the Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver, just got four games for a second violation.
Daryl Washington got sent home for a season, but not because he got busted for two counts of aggravated assault of his girlfriend, for which he received a year’s probation.
And the list goes on and on. Via Aaron Gordon of Sports on Earth, here’s a list of the 27 players that have been suspended since 2006. According to the NFL’s math, a helmet-to-helmet hit that occurred during a game is the equivalent of Rice’s vicious attack.
That’s bad enough, but take a look at what the Ravens’ head coach, Jim Harbaugh, said upon hearing of the suspension.
“It’s just part of the process. We always said from the beginning that the circumstances would determine the consequences,” Harbaugh said. “There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray, he’s a heck of a guy, he’s done everything right since. He makes a mistake, he’s gonna have to pay a consequence.
“I think that’s good for kids to understand it works that way, that’s how it works, that’s how it should be. We’ll move forward, and the next guy will have to step up and Ray will be back when the time comes. It’s not something that we’re dwelling on, we’re not worrying about it, we’re just moving forward.”
That’s right, parents. Make sure you remind your kids that Ray’s a heck of a guy and this two-game suspension is a fair and just punishment. Tell your boys that they can beat the tar out of a girl, and as long as they can average more than 4 yards a carry, they can pretty much get away with it.
And you girls out there, if you get smacked around by your man, make sure you explain how it’s partially your fault during an absolutely awful, team-sponsored press conference. Now, would you gals be interested in purchasing this glittery pink Ray Rice jersey as a show of support?
Why would the NFL render such a patently awful decision, one that states that personal drug use is a more heinous offense than beating the daylights out of a woman?
Well, for starters, there are some very powerful, wealthy forces that are engaged in a continuation of the status quo when it comes to prohibition laws, even for non-physically addictive substances like marijuana. The drug-testing industrial complex is a $1.4 billion-a-year industry that is deeply invested in seeing that contractual agreements among employers and employees supersede legalization efforts.
Here you can read the lovely story of a telemarketer in Colorado that got canned after failing a test, even though he had a legitimate medical reason and a prescription.
The organizations trying to bring attention to the insidious proliferation of domestic violence, however, don’t have nearly as much clout or lobbying dollars, but the numbers alone are horrifying.
From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
· One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
· An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
· 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
· Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
· Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
· Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: This is not about pro athletes in the NFL or any other sport. The NBA is just as bad. Take a look at Aaron McGuire’s column and read the disturbing rap sheet. If you’re tempted to howl that this proves that they’re all “thugs” or “criminals,” please stop now.
America has a problem with domestic violence. The NFL has a problem with how seriously it takes violence against women because there’s zero economic incentive for them to do so. Fans might walk away if they think they’re “all on the dope” but for the most part, they really don’t care what athletes do off the field, as long as they’re not prohibited from playing and helping Team X win.
Take a look at what SportsCenter tweeted after the news came to light.
Ray Rice has been one of the most productive RBs in the NFL in the last 5 seasons.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 24, 2014
On their broadcast this morning, Adam Schefter wondered if the “punishment” was “lenient enough” before the rest of the crew turned the conversation to how the Ravens’ offense will function versus the Steelers and Bengals without their lead ballcarrier.
And the NFL Network described the suspension as Rice “dealing with the iron fist of the NFL,” before quickly pivoting to a conversation about the Thursday night schedule, which (shocker) will be broadcast on the NFL Network.
That may seem callous at best and providing ample cover for Rice and the league as a whole at worst, but they’re just giving their viewers what they want. And yes, I’m including myself in this group. I root for the New York Knicks. They employ an individual that not only has a serious drug problem; he was convicted of vehicular manslaughter. I have not stopped rooting for the Knicks in general or this player in particular, so I’m just as guilty of this hypocrisy as anyone else.
At The Nation, Dave Zirin wrote today that, “When its ‘breast cancer awareness month’ begins, people should take these jerseys and light a big old bonfire outside of NFL stadiums. They are symbols of a monstrous joke that sees women as either revenue streams, cheerleaders or collateral damage to what takes place on the field.”
He’s right, and I’d like to see a day when a demonstration like he describes might occur. But for now, it won’t. And until it does, we’ll be outraged at the next non-punishment for the next Ray Rice, and then the next, and then the next.
NEW YORK (AP) — Ray Rice has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL.
An arbitrator ruled Friday that his suspension for punching his fiancee, now his wife, should be vacated immediately. The NFL said Rice, a free agent, is “eligible to play upon signing a new contract.”
Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones said Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision in September to change Rice’s original suspension from two games to indefinite was “arbitrary” and an “abuse of discretion.”
Jones was deciding whether the NFL overstepped its authority in modifying Rice’s two-game suspension after video of the Baltimore Ravens running back punching Janay became public.
Rice was released by the Ravens when the video went public. Rice and the union contended he was essentially sentenced twice, and Jones agreed.
She noted in her decision that after Goodell increased the punishment for a first offense under the personal conduct policy from two to six games, “the commissioner called Rice to assure him that the new policy would not affect him — that it was forward-looking and his penalty would not be increased.”
In her decision, Jones also wrote:
“Because Rice did not mislead the commissioner and because there were no new facts on which the commissioner could base his increased suspension, I find that the imposition of the indefinite suspension was arbitrary. I therefore vacate the second penalty imposed on Rice.
“The provisions of the first discipline — those regarding making continued use of counseling and other professional services, having no further involvement with law enforcement, and not committing any additional violations of league policies — still stand.”
The NFL said it accepted the decision.
“We respect Judge Jones’s decision to reinstate Ray Rice from his indefinite suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy in an incident of domestic violence,” spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email to The Associated Press.
“Ray Rice is a free agent and has been eligible to be signed by an NFL team since he was released by the Ravens. Based on Judge Jones’ decision, he will be eligible to play upon signing a new contract.”
Goodell and the Rices testified at the hearing, as did NFL security chief Jeffrey Miller and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. During his appearance, Goodell told Jones: “I do accept that I have to be consistent with consistent circumstances, and … I think that’s about fairness, and fairness would be, you should be as consistent as possible in your discipline.”
The NFL Players Association claimed a “victory for a disciplinary process that is fair and transparent” in a statement. The union called again for collective bargaining to produce a new personal conduct policy.
A former NFL executive said teams did not discipline players in “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence incidents during his 30 years in the league, and said he now regrets his role in the failure to take action.
“I made a mistake,” Jerry Angelo told USA TODAY Sports. “I was human. I was part of it. I’m not proud of it.”
Angelo, who was general manager of the Chicago Bears from 2001 to 2011 and has been out of the league since, said his typical approach after learning of a player’s involvement in a domestic violence case was to inquire, “OK, is everybody OK? Yeah. How are they doing? Good. And then we’d just move on. We’d move on.”
“We knew it was wrong,” Angelo said. “…For whatever reason, it just kind of got glossed over. I’m no psychiatrist, so I can’t really get into what that part of it is. I’m just telling you how I was. I’ve got to look at myself first. And I was part of that, but I didn’t stand alone.”
The Bears released a statement later Thursday denying any knowledge of Angelo’s assertions. “We were surprised by Jerry’s comments and do not know what he is referring to,” the statement read.
Angelo said his perspective changed when the infamous Ray Rice video surfaced, showing the star running back punching his fiancee in the face in an elevator and causing her to lose consciousness. The video triggered outrage over the league’s handling of domestic violence. For Angelo, it brought remorse.
Plenty left unresolved in NFL’s domestic violence talks
“It was the pictures, it was the video,” he said. “We had never seen that before. I had never seen video on domestic violence. I think that’s what got everybody’s attention.”
Angelo made the disclosure during an interview with USA TODAY Sports about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has faced calls for his resignation and widespread criticism of how the league has handled players accused of domestic violence, and whether the league aggressively investigated the Rice incident.
Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games. Once the video showing Rice punching his fiancee surfaced in September, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely and the Baltimore Ravens released him. Goodell said no one in NFL offices had seen the video before it was posted online by TMZ.
This week at the NFL owners meetings in New York, Goodell presided over a lengthy session on the league’s personal conduct policy and what should be done to address issues such as domestic violence. Goodell has said the league will announce changes between now and the Super Bowl.
Angelo praised Goodell for his integrity — “He would never cover anything up,” he said — but said the league’s failure to obtain the video made it look like “they were just trying to cover their ass.”
Prior to joining the Bears, Angelo was director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1987 to 2001, a scout for the New York Giants from 1982 to 1986 and a scout for the Dallas Cowboys in 1980, the year he entered the league.
DATABASE: Arrests of NFL players
During Angelo’s tenure as general manager with the Bears, the team won four division titles and reached the Super Bowl after the 2006 season. He was fired after the Bears finished 8-8 in 2011, a year after the team reached the NFC championship game.
Angelo said he did not report to the league cases of domestic violences involving players because disciplinary action would have put his team at a competitive disadvantage.
“Our business is to win games,” Angelo said. “We’ve got to win games, and the commissioner’s job is to make sure the credibility of the National Football League is held in the highest esteem. But to start with that, you have to know who’s representing the shield.”
“We got our priorities a little out of order,” he said.
In 2008, Goodell instituted a personal conduct policy that mandates players and teams report to the league any legal matters that lead to arrest or charges.
Bell: NFL owners unwavering in Roger Goodell support
Tank Johnson, a defensive tackle who played for the Bears from 2004 to 2006, said he is aware that domestic violence incidents went unpunished. Johnson served a six-game suspension imposed by the league in 2007 for a series of legal issues involving gun charges, but nothing involving domestic violence.
“I think that 95 percent of situations or issues that ballclubs face, of course they try to handle them internally and see if they can come up with a resolution,” Johnson told USA TODAY Sports. “…We’re talking about billion-dollar organizations, and maybe there’s a little bravado there, a little ego to say that we can handle this internally.”
Johnson said he respected the former Bears GM, calling Angelo “a great man,” and said he was not surprised to learn about his self-reflection.
“Looking at the Ray Rice situation, it’s got to make everybody step back and say, ‘OK, how many times has this happened and it’s gone unreported?’ ” Johnson said. “And how many times have we overlooked this?
“Anytime you a picture or a video to something, it makes it 100 percent more real. …When you see something so vivid, so violent, it makes everyone gasp and say, ‘Wow, this is real.’ ”
Added Angelo, “Short of killing somebody, there is absolutely nothing worse than abusing a child or a woman. Nothing. And I think everybody understands that now much, much better.
“We’ll be better for it. Everybody will be better. The players, the NFL, everybody.”
Adrian Peterson said today that he wants the public to “understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child.”
Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings running back who was benched after being charged with child abuse for allegedly disciplining his son with a switch, made his first public statement on the issue today.
“I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser,” he said in a statement released through his agent and that he posted on social media today.
Read Adrian Peterson’s Statement on Disciplining His Child
“I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son,” Peterson said.
The incident occurred at his home in Texas this May but was not known publicly until Friday when he was indicted. He allegedly hit his 4-year-old son with a thin branch and the incident was reported by a doctor who was concerned about how much the boy was bleeding.
“I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen,” Peterson said in the statement. “I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.”
Peterson has never spoken publicly about the ways in which he was disciplined as a child, but alluded to having received similar punishments as a child. He said in his statement today, “I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man.”
The Vikings benched the star running back for last week’s game but announced today that he will be reinstated this week. His next hearing is on Wednesday and he has not yet entered a plea.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the team has met with Peterson and his lawyers several times before allowing him to return to the team this week.
“This is a difficult path to navigate… on how a parent disciplines their child,” Spielman said. He added, “We believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out.”
Spielman declined to say whether Peterson’s actions were child abuse. “We must defer ot the legal system to determine if he went too far, but we cannot make that judgment,” he said.