Ray Rice, star running back for the Baltimore Ravens, is a wife beater. That is fact.

The NFL also only suspended him for the first 2 games of the season this year for hitting his wife. Punishment that does not, at all, fit the offence.

Thankfully, with new evidence in the form of a video released by TMZ has resulted in Rice being released by the Ravens themselves, his contract terminated and is suspended indefinitely by the NFL. He will in all likelihood, never play professional football in the NFL again. Not unless a team wishes to show its fan base that it is okay with beating women. Keep in mind, crazier things have happened.

What this brought to light, in a brief discussion with our football Whatsapp group and a friend of mine, is the topic that I wish to touch on briefly in this article. He stated that he found it strange how the NFL is a sort of judge, jury and executioner handing out punishments. Too much power if you will only for its financial gain.

I’ll admit, the league does exhort an extreme amount of control, both over the players and the teams and I have to say for the most part I agree with it. The level of control that the NFL has, allows it to be fair across the league a la Josh Gordon’s punishment for example. He broke the rules relating to substance abuse and he was dealt with accordingly. Now, the league commissioner, admitted that he got the Rice punishment wrong, even though it was the players first offence and they hadn’t seen evidence that has only now come to light (that’s a topic for another story) but he took corrective action and the league changed it’s policy on punishment for domestic abuse making it much harsher, rightfully so, than it was before. This isn’t just about financial gain.

If the NFL didn’t have this power would Rice have been punished at all? If it had been left to the Baltimore Ravens? Likely not. Their job is to win, to sell jerseys and Rice would have presented the best chance of that.

If you want to talk about financial gain, I’d like to see the Ravens swap people’s jerseys out. Ray Rice in return for another active player. That would really be a great gesture because certainly, if I were a Ravens fan (I’m not) I wouldn’t be wearing his jersey. I’d be throwing it away.

The NFL cares as much as any international business and IT IS an international business. It tries to be as fair as possible regarding whatever situation it is dealing with according to its policies. You, as a player, team, coach, whichever, know these policies and if you break them you will reap the consequences. The National Football League, usually waits until all standard legal proceedings through the judiciary system in America are sorted before it hands down suspensions for any incidents whether they be drug abuse, DUI’s or domestic abuse or anything else.

Personally I think, if FIFA were to take a sterner hand in incidents such as this in soccer (I’ll call it soccer for the purpose of this article) then the world might be a bit of a better place.

At least now the world knows what Ray Rice is like. I hope for his wife’s sake that she knows what she is doing.


Simon Traynor