Ravens have fumbled badly [Letter]

September 26, 2014

Thank you, thank you, thank you for finally putting out a worthy and truthful account of the Ray Rice issue and its handling by the Ravens ("The Ravens' story shifts," Sept. 23)! I am a domestic abuse survivor and I would really like to see that this situation could educate and really help victims, survivors and abusers.

I was extremely hopeful when Ray Rice was handed a two-game suspension and when it was criticized by the public, many of whom do not even really know the whole story, know Ray Rice as the man and humanitarian he is or know anything about domestic violence. The Ravens stood behind the decision because of Ray's character, his past and present behavior in the locker room, on and off the field, etc. But all of a sudden this video comes out and the Ravens then decide to throw away all that they had said prior to the video. I didn't understand then and I don't understand now!

I am also very concerned that the "public" as well as the National Football League and reporters and analysts from all over seem to be criticizing and questioning the New Jersey judicial system because Mr. Rice was accepted into the new counseling program rather than incarceration. This is disturbing since from Day One Mr. Rice has accepted full responsibility of his actions. He has no history of this kind of behavior toward anyone, ever! Since February and even since the release of the video, no woman, teammate, classmate, friend (childhood or present), coach or teacher has come forward to say Ray has a temper or that Ray has abused before or anything negative about him.

Yet, so many people do not seem to be as concerned that Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers was found guilty in July by a judge in Charlottesville who sentenced him to 60 days suspended 18 months of probation with no counseling of any kind. To me, there is a significant difference between Ray Rice and Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. What Mr. Rice did was a split-second reaction while highly intoxicated. The other two players had a considerable amount of time to consider their "abusive" actions. They had more than enough time to stop and think of what they were doing was wrong! It is recorded in testimony that Greg Hardy even pulled in his bodyguard to hold his victim down while he beat her, and Adrian Peterson saw that he broke the skin of his young child but continued to beat him repeatedly. Mr. Rice did not continue to beat on Janay.

I decided when Mr. Rice's incident first came out in February that I would hold my thoughts and make my decisions once I heard him speak on this. So when he gave his second press conference, I truly believed 100 percent of what he said. And I believed that he would make a huge impact on domestic violence as he promised once he got through his counseling and other commitments to make what he did right.

The video was disturbing, yes. But it was not something new. It was still the same incident. All along we heard that "he knocked her out in the elevator." Now we've seen it and it was bad but what do you expect when you hear that a person knocked out another person? They certainly don't get knocked out with a kiss.

I think it would have been much wiser and more meaningful if the Ravens had said after the video was released one of two things. They might have said we still stand behind Ray and our decisions to allow him to play following the two-game suspension. He has taken full responsibility, he is getting counseling and he is standing behind every promise he has made to make this right and his commitment to bring attention to domestic violence prevention. Or else they could have decided to give Mr. Rice this season off and if he fulfilled all of his counseling and other promises, they would bring him back to the field next season. You don't just throw him out to the curb! I am sorry, but a one-time split second bad decision does not make someone an abuser for life. It just doesn't!

I said from the beginning that it is much more important to get someone involved in an incident of domestic violence the counseling and help they need to understand what they are doing and how they can avoid continuing on that path of behavior. Simply suspending them or throwing them in a ten-by-ten foot cell is not going to help domestic violence.

Finally, I would like to say, for all of the "do-gooders" and people who claim they "would never hit a woman or abuse a child," think about this — it is not just physical abuse, there is way too much emotional and verbal abuse, too.

I would love to see one of the local TV stations have an hour-long round table discussion regarding this entire story with a panel of everyday citizens, male and female, of multiple ages and circumstances.

Dawn M. DiBattista, Parkville

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