Bolden: Rough times continue for Rice

Deshawn Bolden, Column Writer

From a two game suspension, to having his contract terminated by the Baltimore Ravens, to being suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Ray Rice witnessed his entire career vanish within a span of 3 months.

Earlier this year, Ray Rice was caught on video dragging Janay Rice, his fiancée at the time, out of a hotel elevator while she was visibly unconscious. The original video caused a media frenzy. When the second video was released, showing Rice actually punching his then-fiancée, things really escalated.

Initially, the NFL suspended Ray Rice for only two games during the regular season. After making the decision of two games, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that he made a mistake with handling the incident. Goodell changed the ruling of future domestic violence cases to a six-game suspension for first time offenders and a lifetime ban from the NFL for second-time offenders.

However, after TMZ released the graphic video of the former Ravens running back striking Janay in the face, everything changed.

The NFL and the Baltimore Ravens were under much scrutiny for how they handled the situation. As a result, the Ravens terminated Rice’s contract moments after the NFL suspended the former star indefinitely. Rice was even removed from the NFL football video game, Madden 15.

Many analysts, activist groups and even fans had much to say about how the situation was handled by all parties involved. Some questioned if the NFL had any prior knowledge to the second video before deciding the initial punishment. Others questioned why Rice’s suspension changed to an indefinite sentence and not to the six games for a first-time offender, like Goodell stated would be the case.

If it is one person who should have an opinion on what should have happened, it is Janay Rice. Around a month after the incident, Janay put it behind her and married the former Super Bowl champion. She has gone public, describing everything as a “nightmare” and claims that the media’s opinion is “unwanted.” Mrs. Rice refused to press any charges against her husband and went on to say that she wanted him to continue to play in the league and be successful.

The NFL has been handing out tough suspensions for offenses such as animal cruelty, illegal substance usage, and now domestic violence. The league seems to want to make it clear that they do not support any of these things. But, does the NFL just want to save face? Did they see or have any knowledge of the video of Rice punching his wife prior to handing out the two-game suspension? That’s the important question.

On Sept. 10, a law enforcement officer told the Associated Press that he sent the video to league executives. He later played a 12-second voicemail from a NFL office number confirming that the video was sent and received. Roger Goodell hired a former FBI official and others to publicly verify that they had no prior knowledge of the video. Rice is currently appealing the suspension by the NFL and may be pursuing legal action against the league as well.