Ray Rice and fan hypocrisy [Letter]

September 18, 2014

I will not pretend to be a legal expert. That being said, I take a stance on the Ray Rice issue because I believe that the hypocrisy is slightly annoying ("Ravens bungled the Ray Rice case from start to finish," Sept. 17).

I have no doubt in my mind and fully agree that Ray Rice committed a crime. He should accept the repercussions that come along with his actions. However, it is something that should be left to the discretion of the legal system, not the NFL. The NFL is by nature an organization that is prominent because they provide entertainment to us, the viewers. Ray Rice in essence was not dropped from the Ravens and banned indefinitely because of the crime that he committed but actually because he is seen as unwatchable in the eyes of the NFL.

We saw the initial video. We speculated. We reacted. The NFL did the same. So in essence the NFL took part in the entire scenario as nothing more than a viewer like us. Now, as humans we are allowed to react. However, we must be conscious of the effect that it has on others. This man's life is essentially ruined because of a mistake, a terrible one but a mistake none the less. There is no commentator job after, no ESPN analyst job down the road because he is now and forever branded as unpopular — unless he came back to lead the Ravens to a miraculous Super Bowl, similar to another Ravens player involved in a crime.

Ray Rice is being punished after a guilty verdict in the court of public opinion, hence making him unprofitable to an organization whose purpose is making football the best sports entertainment in the world. I think it is a little hypocritical that we cheer when he scores touchdowns because he makes our viewing pleasurable but when he makes a mistake, he is suddenly a disgrace. He is more than an object, more than a character in your movie that you just love to hate. He is a person. The NFL may be based on entertainment but it is more that you average daily sitcom because the people involved are more than characters, they are human beings with a moral consciousness just like you and I.

I am not saying that Ray Rice should not be accountable for his actions. I am asking you all to be accountable of yours as well because your gossip at the water cooler, in the barbershops and hair salons mean something, too. Be fair and equal in your judgment. We do not talk about the good that he does, with providing the youth of this city (a city he is not even from, I might add) with the means for recreation, the benefit that his charity does, the good he exhibits as a person; but apparently that's nothing because aren't all football players supposed to do that? Even in the court of public opinion, we should consider all the facts.

I am not friends with Ray Rice. However, I have met him and will treat him like an individual. I will end with two questions. How would you feel if you were punished because of how people reacted toward seeing you in a video and not because of what you did? What if no one recognized you for the good you have done in this world and only the mistakes you have made?

Jerrod Ridgway, Baltimore

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