Running back Ray Rice: Reprimand the reward?



Caitlyn Concha | Contributing Writer

Ray Rice is a big name our country has been hearing about for years, but until recently, his name was seen on news headlines because he was one of best running backs the Baltimore Ravens had ever seen, not for domestic violence charges.

On Feb. 15, 2014, Rice was charged with assault for striking his then-fiancé, Janay Palmer, unconscious in an elevator. Police reports state that Palmer first struck Rice with her hand, which lead to Rice to retaliating with his strike. This altercation left both Rice and Palmer with assault charges.

Ray Rice was then suspended from two games until TMZ published the security video in its entirety on Sept. 8th, after which the Ravens coaches let Rice go. The National Football League (NFL) has revised its policies for domestic violence after the incident between Rice and his now-wife, Janay. The Ravens’ commissioner is under scrutiny for claiming he had no idea that the brutality was as extreme as the video revealed.

On social media networks, the country is blowing up with tweets and Facebook posts defending and criticizing Ray Rice. It is true that Janay hit Ray; however, that did not give Rice the right to knock her unconscious. The couple did not react well in this situation, and domestic violence is never the answer, nor does it solve anything. Ray Rice had no right to hit her back.

This man is a professional football player who is idolized by fitness magazines for his strength and abilities. A woman of Janay’s size has no physical defense against someone like Ray Rice. Regardless of whether a person is a man or a woman, no one should be hit.

The video published by TMZ earlier this month shows Rice dragging Janay’s motionless, unconscious body out of the elevator. His actions lack remorse; he doesn’t even bend down to see if she is okay, and he doesn’t touch her until he starts dragging her out of the elevator. He steps over her body, halfway kicking her multiple times. These are abusive, criminal actions that should have been handled with a firm punishment, not just a suspension from two games.

Another frustrating situation is the way this was handled by the Ravens’ coaches. They gave Ray Rice a slap on the wrist by initially suspending him from only two games. A crime of that degree needs to be punished more severely.

Ray Rice was valued greatly for his contribution to the team, and the coaches did not want to lose one of their star athletes. Nothing was really done until the video was published for the public to see which was months after the crime had been committed. Ray Rice should have been immediately cut from the team for knocking out his fiancé, and the NFL should not have avoided this incident for so long. The incidents that occurred that February night were wrong, and the punishment should fit the crime.

Domestic violence is no joke. It happens everywhere and can happen to anyone. Abuse against women is something seen far too often in this country and across the world. Women are more likely to be killed or raped by their partner than another man. One in four women face domestic violence, but in some countries almost 70 percent of women experience abuse.

Women are not the only people who experience domestic violence; nearly three million physical assaults are reported by men. Children living in an abusive environment are put at a higher risk to experience it themselves; between 30 and 60 percent more susceptible. If you or someone you know is experiencing the domestic violence, please seek help. The university chaplain, Ken Meissner and Mandy Boothby, the university counselor, are very good resources to contact, and in cases of emergency, call campus security or the police.

Graphic By Kyle Shade