The Patriot Position: A “Slap on the Wrist” for Domestic Violence


Jessica Imbimbo, Joshua Lloyd & Rebecca Cross, Senior Editorial Staff

On Sept. 8, Raven’s running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely from the NFL after video footage of him punching his fiancé surfaced. The incident happened on Feb. 15 on a casino elevator in Atlantic City, and was captured on surveillance cameras.


The reason for his suspension has sparked a nationwide debate about domestic violence and the level of punishment for those in the public’s eye. Since there is definitive video evidence of the abuse, the debate is not over Rice’s guilt or actions, but over the NFL’s response.


What makes this an interesting case is that Rice was suspended for two games in late July for video of Rice dragging his fiancé’s seemingly lifeless body down a hallway. It wasn’t until after footage of what happened inside the elevator prior to exiting into the hallway was put online that the NFL banned Rice indefinitely.


Many questions have surfaced as a result of the incident:  Did the NFL know about Rice’s elevator battle before it was posted? If so, why didn’t they immediately take action? Is the full suspension of Rice their way of protecting their image in sight of public criticism?


On the one hand the NFL took a stance against domestic abuse and terminated a star running back. On the other hand, the NFL seemed to have only took action after video footage leaked, and surmounting public outrage ensued.


An organization with as much money and influence as the NFL is capable of investigating an incident involving any player, especially one of their icons (remember Michael Vick and Plexico Burress?)


Perhaps Rice’s first suspension was a just “slap on the wrist” that the NFL thought would appease troubled minds and would make the confrontation simply disappear. After more compelling footage they realized it’s not something that can simply be swept under the rug, but is a topic that affects thousands every year.


It’s hard to say if the NFL’s motive for firing Ray Rice is conviction or a public relations effort. However, it’s safe to say that the amount of awareness being raised for domestic violence because of the incident is a positive.