Thank You, Ray Rice

Thank You, Ray Rice

Leigh DowThursday,11 September 2014

The Snap:

Thank you Ray Rice, for giving me the opportunity to have to explain to my ten year old son why you were suspended and ultimately removed from the Ravens. Thank you Ravens for sitting on this for seven months and defending this man. For SEVEN MONTHS you knew exactly what happened and you kept him on the roster. For seven months you tried to convince fans that Ray Rice was a great guy and somehow there was a great lesson in all of this. Even the NFL leadership was in on this farce.

Thank you, Ray Rice for being just another man who can’t control his strength and physical power. As a professional athlete, and someone who gets tackled for a living, I don’t believe you don’t know your own strength. For the team and the league, letting him go now is the ultimate in self protection. It has nothing to do with doing the right thing.

But maybe more importantly, thank you media, for continuing the victimization of Janay Rice, and causing her more emotional pain and shame on top of the actual incident. What a horrible thing to release to the public. You clearly had no thought or compassion for her and her daughter. Did you do it because you didn’t think the initial punishment was enough? Did you do it to press the NFL to change their ways for the ultimate good?

The Download:

Watching the video of Ray Rice smashing his fiancé in the face with his tremendous athletic power, he appeared to be oddly calm. He punched her in the face with calm, like it was nothing. He watched her head smash into the elevator railing like it was nothing. He watched her hit the floor like it was nothing. The video does not appear to depict any sense of urgency for what had just happened. Ray Rice is an NFL running back. His reflexes are greater than the average man, as is his strength. There is no way he doesn’t know his own strength. It’s questionable that even after he lost his temper, his brilliant reflexes couldn’t have allowed him to catch her before more damage was done.

His sense of calm after she hit floor is perhaps the most disturbing. He didn’t pick her up like a man who loves a woman would do – he dragged her. Not even out of the elevator. He didn’t even try for one second to clear her body from harms way – he let her lay on the ground of a disgusting casino elevator floor like dirt. He let her head linger in a door that could potentially close. Not one time did he demonstrate a sense of urgency, like someone who had a moment’s loss of control followed by instant regret.

Watching a man attack his now wife in this video is a disgusting act of violence. If it were two random strangers in the elevator, would it have gotten the same air play? Does Janay Rice not deserve some compassion or respect as a victim? She does not deserve to see this played and discussed across the world. What benefit did publicizing the video deliver for the victim? Take the case of Chris Brown and Rihanna. She was brutally beaten by Chris Brown. He beat her face to a point beyond recognition and the media publicized her photos. When they were leaked they shared them, broadcast them, and made money off of the victim. I’m not talking about money before anything tabloids, I’m talking about legit media outlets.

Trust is a sticky wicket in a relationship. I don’t know Janay Rice, and it’s not my place or yours to judge her. I believe people can change, and I sincerely hope for both of them that they adjusted what is acceptable. I hope she has set serious boundaries for herself and her well being. I wonder what has happened to both of them in their lives that this behavior is marriage material.

But I will say this – trust is one of the most sacred bonds of a relationship. Women need to trust the man in their life to protect and honor them. Once that bond is broken, everything changes. Once a man puts his hands on the woman in his life, she begins to question him and herself. She changes her choices, decisions, all based on his reaction to them. Fear creeps in. If I do this, how will he react? Fear that now she knows what he is capable of. Once you cross that line she knows you are capable of doing it again. You may never ever cross that line again, but it doesn’t matter. Because from here to eternity she knows you are capable and will adjust her behavior.

It’s heartbreaking to see Ray Rice’s wife apologize for her role in this. According to the New York Times, Janay Rice blamed the news media for her husband’s dismissal and suspension, stating, ”No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options (sic) from the public has caused my family.” Similar to Rihanna, Janay Rice has been put in a position where she feels she needs to defend herself. Hasn’t she suffered enough just by the initial act?

Ray Rice deserves severe consequences for this attack. What is sad, is not his consequences for the event, it’s that his wife deserved for this to be a more private matter for her and her daughter. Our media has a tendency to shame the victim in their attempt to report the crime. They do it because the victim’s pain is often the more captivating story than some asshole who hit his wife. There is no reason the public needed to see her be beaten by her now husband.

Regardless of her choice to stand by her man, I’m certain his wife does not deserve the constant broadcast of a violent attack against her. Are we going to start broadcasting rapes caught on street cameras? Is this entertainment?

I think the media got this one wrong, they wanted the ratings or online impressions, no matter the cost to the victim. If they were really after truth and justice, then they would have provided the footage to the right law enforcement officials and never published the images. If they were not happy with the NFL response, there are other avenues to seek justice. The media has done nothing to help yet another victim of domestic violence; rather, they made her the story. I can only hope someone, somewhere. saw this moment and the life changing consequences for Ray Rice and either changed their behavior or realized they deserve a better life. For members of the media: I wish there were more integrity left in your craft.

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Hat Tips:

The New York Times, Image Credit: Flickr

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