NFL, Ravens willfully ignorant on Ray Rice's domestic assault

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (Seth Wenig/AP)

It's a simple thing. This doesn't need to be an essay thousands of words long to illustrate a point the NFL can't seem to comprehend.

Baltimore running back Ray Rice was arrested in the offseason for reportedly "uppercutting" his fiancee after an altercation in which blows were exchanged. Rice knocked her unconscious in an Atlantic City casino and video caught him dragging her body out of an elevator. He has received a two-game suspension and will face fines up to $58,000.

As has been heavily cited throughout this farce, smoking pot in the NFL could get you a one-year suspension. In the NFL, pot, which is legalized in select states, carries a longer sentence than punching a woman in the face, which is legalized in none. On the Eagles, Lane Johnson is facing a four-game ban for a first-time PED offense. 

Also, punching a woman in the face is punching a woman in the face.

But the NFL doesn't want you to forget - they're a friend to women! Just look at all this pink crap they'll sell you to make you more aware of breast cancer! Only wait, no; a lot of the money they get from that doesn't even go to charity.

On this issue, though, they had a(nother) chance to make a point, and once more, maintained the image of the NFL as a hopeless, clueless, gutless entity, incapable of harvesting a helpful thought on the issue of women, its players, and/or its authority.

Instead of a more appropriately harsh ban, we get Ravens coach John Harbaugh on TV, claiming what his running back did - punch a woman in the face, remember - "is not a big deal."

"It’s not a big deal, it’s just part of the process. There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray. He’s a heck of a guy. He’s done everything right since. He makes a mistake, alright? He's going to have to pay a consequence. I think that's good for kids to understand it works that way. That's how it works, that's how it should be."

--John Harbaugh, husband

Shockingly, the Ravens followed suit, as a team.

"We respect the league's decision and believe it is fair."

-- Ravens official statement

It's definitely "good for kids" to see that the consequences of domestic violence are minimal, and that the coach of the player responsible doesn't see it as something for you to get all worked up about. But it's probably better for the Ravens, who don't lose a key player for more than two weeks.

Other things that are wrong-headed about Harbaugh's statement:

  • "There are consequences when you make a mistake like that." The police don't seem to think that it was all just a big misunderstanding, nullifying the idea that this was a "mistake."
  • "He's a heck of a guy." He's a heck of a football player. He sounds like a pretty awful person. One doesn't negate the other.
  • "That's how it works, that's how it should be." That's how it sadly is, and that's how it will stay until someone at the NFL stands up in a meeting and comes to the hysterically elusive conclusion that "GUYS, maybe hitting people is a serious thing!"

And then, there's Roger Goodell, who sent a weakly-worded letter to Rice to say That Was Really Wrong and Don't You Ever Do It Again, Buddy.

“I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations.”

See now? Everything is fine. Hey, don't forget to re-up on those Ravens season tickets.