Ray Rice was given his walking papers by the Baltimore Ravens after video released by TMZ showed Rice punching his wife Janay Rice in the elevator of an Atlantic City in February.
Soon after the incident Rice married his then fiancé, took his punishment in stride and began to move on with his life. Rice was set to serve a two-game suspension handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell but, amid the recent video, Goodell amended his verdict by suspending Rice indefinitely.
After watching the video several times over it’s unquestionably damning and revealing. Seeing Rice’s wife face down after being struck was alarming indeed. But were the Ravens and the NFL justified in stripping Rice of his ability to make a living as a result?
I find it hard to believe the recent video that just surfaced wasn’t already viewed by the NFL. The timing of its release doesn’t feel right nor does it pass the smell test in my opinion. Furthermore, I don’t believe Rice should be stripped of his ability to earn a living for an offense he’s already paid for privately, legally and publicly.
The media is the biggest culprit in this whole situation because it picks and chooses who to bring down. Let’s take the case of Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay. Here’s a billionaire owner who was under the influence of drugs, charged with a DWI and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. Irsay has had long battled the demons of alcohol and drugs yet he gets a pass from the media.
While Rice has been habitually battered by the media Irsay quietly has copped a plea and was suspended by the NFL for six games and fined $500,000. No revealing coverage-just a small segment on the ticker.
Why hasn’t the media persistently shown Irsay failing sobriety tests along side the road at 3a.m.?
Why hasn’t Irsay been shown on video being taken to jail on the regular?
In my opinion Irsay’s actions as an owner are more egregious than Rice’s as a player. Irsay is supposed to set a standard by leading a franchise, not abusing drugs and alcohol in the wee hours of the morning.
Yes, Rice struck his wife for all to see. A terrible thing but, does he maintain a history of abusing women like Irsay has in abusing drugs and alcohol?
Has Rice historically been a menace to society?
The media has long created an atmosphere of negativity around African-Americans for their transgressions yet often issue media passes to whites.
Remember Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisbergerand his alleged sexual assaults?
Roethlisberger was accused of multiple sexual assault charges—most recently in 2010 in Milledgeville, Georgia—yet the sports media kept the situation quiet. You have a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback providing alcohol to a 20-year old minor with allegations of sexual assault yet that wasn’t worthy of persistent coverage?
Interesting enough the surveillance video of the incident that took place on the night of March 4, 2010, which could have provided further insight as to what transpired, were somehow taped over.
No evidence, no crime.
Yet in Rice’s case the media kept digging until they found what they needed to help destroy this man’s family and career. No, the media didn’t strike Janay Rice across the face but it certainly has created the necessary atmosphere to strike her family down.
Why wasn’t the same level of persistence utilized by the media against Roethlisberger and Irsay?
The answer boils down to a lack of diversity in sports media and ignorance. When over 90, 80, 80 and 90 percent respectively of the sports editors, reporters, columnists and copy editors are white disseminated information will largely reflect the ideological framework of those providing coverage.
Allow me to be very clear direct here: I’m not excusing, diffusing nor justifying Rice’s actions here. What he did was wrong and I have no issue with him being punished. My issue is with the inconsistent media coverage African-Americans receive resulting from the lack of diversity in society and sports.
If we live in a society where senseless deaths like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown take place how can there be equitable administration of justice in sport without diversity?
How can former President Bill Clinton receive a pass for his “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky back in the day yet Tiger Woods can be persistently hammered by the media for his sexual transgressions?
How can the ilk of Lance Armstrong—who was found to be a fraud and a bully who duped the American people in the name of cancer—be issued a media pass but there’s still a segment of the country can’t stand Michael Vick for funding a gambling ring and torturing dogs?
How can George W. Bush be given a pass by the media for destroying the fabric of this country while current President Barack Obama continues to endure the wrath of racist rhetoric from a segment of the media contingent and society?
This shouldn’t be an issue of race but let’s face it folks, it is. For every Plaxico Burress, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Ray Lewis and Kobe Bryant being crucified by the media for their past transgressions whites like Ben Roethlisberger, Roger Clemens, Lance Armstrong, Jim Irsay, and Mark McGwire get passes. Whites, by way of the media, are allowed to comfortably ease into their premeditated obscurity while many African-Americans don’t have such a luxury.
In closing, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I have no issue the hammer being brought down on Rice for his actions so long as that same hammer being brought down consistently scrutinizes whites for their transgressions as well.
Email Dexter directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @DextersVPoint