LRU Roundtable: The Ray Rice Debacle and Diagnosing the NFL’s New Domestic Abuse Policy

With the most recent punishment handed down to former Ravens running back Ray Rice, the Locker Room Update writers take a look at the NFL’s seemingly sudden change in its Domestic Abuse Policy. No one will try to justify what Rice has done, but the suddenness of these league changes in policy have some questioning what lines should be drawn. The writers give their thoughts on Rice’s punishment, and I opened the floor to their thoughts on the league’s actions.

With that, we give you our latest roundtable.

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Alex: First off, I’ll reiterate what the discussion states above. None of us are justifying what Ray Rice has done. It was a sickening action that deserved all of the criticism and more from fellow players, his teammates, and fans alike. I have been a long-supporter of harsher punishments handed down to athletes, simply because they get away with free rides on occurences that are far more serious than some of us give them credit for. We live in a society where no parent wants their child to have a role model athlete anymore.

There ARE legitimate questions about the policy, even if I agree with the punishment that was handed down to former-Ravens running back Ray Rice. Yes, Rice was suspended indefinitely. Yes, he was cut by the Ravens, and yes, his career is probably, at least to some extent, down the proverbial drain. But what about two years ago? What about 6 months ago? The inevitable discussions that will surface in the following days and weeks will surround the fact that there have been plenty of instances of domestic abuse that have gone by the wayside of the league. Why start now? To some point, it might have to do with keeping the league’s image, or even recovering an image once hurt by its ability to look the other way. Whatever it is, I would assert that you have to start somewhere. Rice’s actions are anything but forgivable, so when the public eye is turned on to the tape, what better way is there than to start now? NFL players: meet the new domestic abuse policy. If you want your absurdly multiple-digited paycheck, don’t end up like Ray Rice.

Christa: I honestly think the league should have taken care of this and handled this a lot earlier. This is not a new topic; Ray Rice was caught on tape around February/March during the offseason with his violence actions in regards of what happened in the evalator at the Atlantic City hotel and I think it was a bad part on the league for letting this go for as long as it did. I feel that the league should have punished Ray Rice and suspended him indefinitely immediately instead of waiting as long as they did. I feel that when Ray Rice was first arrested for domestic violence that he was let go too easy by only suspending him for a few games. I think they should of closely looked at the tape, rather than waiting until now.

Robert: Domestic abuse had been an issue around the NFL for years. Players have been getting one or two game suspensions for it; it hasn’t been a big focus. The video opened up a lot of eyes on the issue.

Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl linebacker Greg Hardy, who was convicted on domestic violence charges over the summer, has now appealed and is awaiting a jury trial. Hardy was convicted in July after his May arrest on charges of assault and communicating threats against his former girlfriend. Nicole Holder accused him of throwing her down on a couch and threatening to shoot her if she told anyone. Hardy received a 60-day suspended sentence and 18 months of probation following a 10-hour bench trial, but demanded a jury trial as part of his appeal. His jury trial is expected to begin Nov. 17 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Hardy played week one, despite his conviction.

The NFL passed a new domestic policy. First offense equals 6 games, and the second is a lifetime ban. The NFL gave Ray Rice a 2 game suspension, which was not enough time after seeing the video. However, according to past players, it matches up. The only problem is that there was no video evidence in the past and Rice has a clean record.

I agree with the new policy. In Rice’s case, the policy came after the crime. NFL teams will take a public relations hit by signing him. He may be out longer than 6 games because of it. Furthermore, I believe Rice should be able to return after he completes his abuse programs. If Mike Vick can change his life around, why not Rice? Rice got lucky by his girlfriend being the victim. She married him and they’re both in the program together, working on improving their relationship. They were last seen together at a high school football game in New York. If she hadn’t forgiven him, this could have been way worse.

As far as fans supporting Rice when he returns, fans buy boxer Floyd Maywheather fights. Floyd has domestic charges from 4 different woman and served 90 days in jail in one case. Yet, he is still making his money. This video may be the worst thing to happen to Rice. It also could make him a better man and husband.

No matter what, the NFL needs to have stricter rules and use guidelines. They need to throw out Roger Goodell’s ways of being judge and jury. In the end, the fact is that one man should not pick your punishment. Use the policy and guidelines.

Let us know what you think!