What the Ravens should have done [Letter]

September 12, 2014

I wish Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti would have had the courage to come out and say that even if the organization did know exactly what happened that night that Ray Rice assaulted his then-fiancée, they made the decision they made because they knew Ray's family was better off with him as a Raven.

Anyone who watched the video of the assault that TMZ.com published on Monday was disgusted saddened, and angry. People who hit their wives and girlfriends don't just do it once. It is one of the most despicable epidemics our society faces. But the reality is that very few perpetrators have the kind of support system the Ravens can provide Ray Rice.

This is an organization that truly busts its tail of for the community. This included Ray with his tireless effort for the anti-bullying campaign, which was one of the best charitable organizations going in Baltimore, and today those children are also victims of this story. The Ravens pride themselves on calling their organization a family, and we have no reason to believe that they shouldn't have been given the benefit of the doubt in making the call as to whether Ray could remain a member of their organization — an entirely separate decision from any discipline handed down by the NFL. Coupled with the court ordered counseling, I really believe there is a good chance this man would have turned his life around, and he still may.

Instead, because TMZ decided it had release this video, the mob mentality of America has taken over, fueled by the mainstream media. The surface level reaction of the American public is clearly, crucify the man, make it infinitely harder for him to redeem himself, all so we can feel better about ourselves ... then let's go plop our butts back down on the sofa and stick the needle in our arm that is the NFL for hours every week. Moreover let's pretend like there aren't many athletes suiting up on Sunday who have committed the same exact crime that Ray Rice did, or who will be fighting at MGM Grand Saturday night for millions of dollars of pay per view money. Let's not even think about how Ray's wife and daughter, who by all counts had started to piece their life back together, must feel as the country drops the hammer on their lives just as hard as Ray dropped that fist. In fact, Janay Rice told us all we need to know with her powerful message delivered on Instagram.

We demand more football despite all of the glaring side-effects the game causes, including uncontrollable aggression in many of its players. Ray Rice is certainly the biggest culprit here, and America doesn't have to forgive him. But America needs to look at itself in the mirror and realize that the endless reactionary social media and 24 hour news cycle has created an underlying ugliness and lack of thought in our society that benefits nobody.

Lastly, I hope this is the final straw for the dictatorial reign of Roger Goodell as commissioner. Under the league's collective bargaining agreement, the NFL is the disciplinary body for the players, not the individual teams, and Roger Goodell has appointed himself as its chief disciplinarian. If Mr. Goodell had suspended Ray for a year, the Ravens would have gladly accepted that. Instead, he suspended him for two games. Why would the Ravens have any reason to believe that a league that suspends players for an entire season for smoking marijuana would not have done their due diligence in this case and concluded this was the appropriate punishment?

The Ravens' handling of the story was poor, highlighted by having Ray's wife speak at that press conference. The organization will have to live with that error in judgment. But poor PR decisions are nothing compared to the way Roger Goodell dropped the ball in this case and largely contributed to the mess that it is has turned into. The difference is Mr. Goodell gets to write an apology note to the owners and keep his $44 million salary. Ray Rice's wife, on the other hand, is left with the gaping hole that his now indefinite suspension has exacerbated in her life. Everyone involved in this story needs to take a good hard look in the mirror, including the American public.

Scott Green, Chicago

The writer, an attorney, is a Baltimore native.

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