Monday, September 08, 2014

Time To Do What's Right

It took a lot to bring me out of my self imposed retirement. Life does that. But the newly leaked Ray Rice video has put me over the edge.

Before the video came out I was in the camp that believed Rice deserved at least a 4-6 game suspension, but that also thought that we did not know what the NFL and the team knew and had not seen that they had seen. Now this video has surfaced. According to the league they were not given access to this by the New Jersey Police Department. It is your choice whether or not you want to take them at their word on that. If they are telling the truth then this new evidence means that they have to revisit Rice's suspension. If the are not telling the truth then the league has lost a LOT of credibility in how they handled this.

There has been a lot of vitriol and venom being spewed (and rightfully so) online. Calls for Rice to be suspended indefinitely and cut from the team. I cannot say that I disagree with those sentiments. I also understand that this is a business and there is a union involved. Any action by the league or the team is going to be met with a reaction by the NFL Players Association. Whether they want to or not they have to. It's no different that the MLB union defending Alex Rodriguez during the last round of steroid allegations. The job of the union is to defend it's members no matter what.

As I was writing this the Ravens terminated Ray Rice's contract, which puts an end to a lot of the points I was going to make. From now on this issue will be resolved in the courts and by whatever team decides to take a chance on him, which will happen eventually. It is difficult for me to hold true to this sometimes, but I believe everyone deserves a second chance. Lord knows I have been given a few. I am a pit bull owner but I still supported Michael Vick being allowed back into the league once he paid his debt to society. I feel the same way about Ray Rice. He deserves to be punished. He deserves every bit of anger and vitriol being cast at him. He deserves all of that and more. He also deserves a chance to take that punishment and then return to society and work again. This is not sports related so much as it is societal, but this lifetime condemnation of someone for a sin no matter how egregious only leads to more and worse actions. So my advice for Mr. Rice is to not fight this, to not ask the NFLPA to stand for him. Instead, he should continue in the program he was enrolled in as part of his plea bargain. He should accept any retroactive punishment the league gives him without comment or complaint. Maybe, by his actions, he can return one day, if not as a player than as a cautionary tale. That might just be his best hope at this point. In the meantime, Ray, you have a lot more to worry about than what is going to happen when your daughter Googles you.