By Mark Ventrice
The Ray Rice story has become bigger than the NFL itself, but should it be?
I’ll quickly go through the basics: Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back, knocked out his then-fiancee in an elevator. Then video was released of him dragging her out, and he was suspended for two games by the NFL. TMZ then releases a video of him actually punching her and then he is suspended indefinitely by the league and released by the Ravens.
This has lead to all sorts of pressure on the NFL to implement more strict domestic violence rules. The NFL finally succumbed to the pressure and implemented a rule stating that the first offense leads to a six-game suspension and the second leads to an indefinite suspension.
Now, domestic violence: Even without looking at statistics, it’s basically common knowledge that domestic abuse has occurred more than once since the Rice incident happened. Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty of assault against his ex-girlfriend — an attack that was FAR worse than what Rice did.
But where is the outrage against him?
San Francisco defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested on charges of assault against his fiancée, but where is the outrage against him?
Why is it that the National Organization for Women is furious about Rice but has said nothing about McDonald or Hardy? Why does a search for “Domestic Violence News” on ABCNews.com lead to a page of 34 articles; 32 of which relate to Rice. Even more than this though, a man in South Dakota smashed his girlfriend across the head with a metal pipe and then the woman stabbed him with a knife multiple times. Why is this not national news like Rice is?
Is it because Rice is an NFL player? Perhaps.
Domestic violence became a huge issue years ago when Chris Brown beat up Rihanna, but very soon after the issue in the mainstream died down. So if Brown got it into the mainstream, it’s not too much of a stretch to say the only reason the Rice issue is big is because of his fame.
But aren’t Hardy and McDonald famous too?
Maybe they aren’t famous enough. Rice is a star running back on the Ravens — a team that won the Super Bowl just two years ago. McDonald’s 49ers haven’t done as much, nor have Hardy’s Panthers. Could the amount of fame be the problem? I don’t think that is it either.
Maybe because there is a video of Rice knocking out his then-fiancee?
This is probably the most logical answer. Once TMZ released the most recent video, Rice’s punishment jumped from only a two-game suspension to an indefinite suspension. And afterwards everyone jumped out of the woodwork to call out everyone from Rice to his now wife to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Has a video been released of McDonald knocking his fiancee around? No there hasn’t.
What about a video of Hardy doing the horrible things he did to his ex-girlfriend? Again, no.
Even more so, was there video of the couple in South Dakota? No there wasn’t.
So is video the real reason why everyone is talking about Rice? Partially.
With the video, everyone can see what happened. We have more than just words to go off.
No single one of these reasons could cause a nationwide reaction like the one that is occurring now. Concrete footage of the incident and the suspect’s popularity would both have to occur to have this sort of public reaction.
If the American media wants to make such a big deal about the Rice issue, good for them. I really hope that it leads to more awareness about domestic violence because if it doesn’t then what really is the point?