Ray Rice V Janay Palmer: Trial By Video And Show Me The Gun
DID you see the video surfaced of NFL player Ray Rice hitting his then girlfriend Janay Palmer so hard she fell unconscious? The couple married a month later. They must have waited a month until the bruises healed so as to look good in the wedding photos.
In February, TMZ posted a video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his apparently unconscious then-fiancée (now his wife Janay Rice) from an elevator at the Revel casino in Atlantic City. The incident led to Ray Rice’s arrest for domestic violence, though he was assigned to a pre-trial diversion program rather than being charged with a crime. It also led him to receive a two-game suspension from the NFL. League commissioner Roger Goodell, after facing harsh criticism for the relatively light punishment (first-time marijuana offenders generally get suspended for more games), he announced a new, much stricter league domestic-violence policy in August.
But the original video didn’t show exactly what had happened inside the elevator, leaving an opening for Rice supporters to assume that he was acting in self-defense. Janay Rice apologized for her role in the incident, which seemed to confirm this suspicion. Now, TMZ has released a second video (warning: it’s very graphic) from inside the casino elevator. It shows Rice punching Palmer — and makes it clear that what happened wasn’t a “fight,” but an attack.
Rice said: “It is disappointing that I will not be with my teammates for the first two games of the season, but that’s my fault. As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But, Janay and I have learned from this. We have become better as a couple and as parents. I am better because of everything we have experienced since that night. The counselling has helped tremendously.”
The Ravens have only now terminated Rice’s contract.
The league suspended Rice for a meager two games for knocking his wife unconscious. The league now propose to suspend him indefinitely for….the same thing. This suspension only indirectly relates to the protecting women. It mostly relates to protecting the shield.
What did Rice lose?
Over the next three years, Rice, the Ravens’ second career leading rusher and a three-time Pro Bowl player, was to receive $9.5 million in salary, $9 million in signing bonuses and an additional $5.2 million in performance bonuses, according to the website Spotrac.com. Contracts often include terms that allow teams to terminate a deal with a player if he acts in a way that is detrimental to the team.
He’s obviously a valued player. So. How long before another team hires him?
[I]f no one is going to talk about the welfare of the person who is actually subjected to the violence on that tape, let’s talk about it here. I spent the morning communicating with people who work on issues involving domestic violence and violence against women nearly every day of their lives. They all said the same thing, without dissent: releasing this tape to the world is incredibly damaging to Janay Rice. Just as we would protect the name of an alleged rape victim, just as we would not show a video of Ray Rice committing a sexual assault, we should not be showing this video like it’s another episode of Rich People Behaving Badly. If Janay Rice wanted to show this tape to the world, in other words if she had offered her consent, that is a different matter. But showing and reshowing it just because we can is an act of harm.
They thought, apparently, that it was complicated; that a running back who evades the tackles of the Steelers’ defense had no option but to resort to force to defend himself when Palmer attacked him; that what he did was somehow her fault, or at least an understandable reaction to some unspecified, but presumably outrageous, female behavior. Stephen A. Smith, of ESPN, in a segment on the case, talked about how he advised women in his family not to “provoke wrong actions.” (He apologized, and was suspended for a week, a span that served to underscore how brief Rice’s suspension was.) There was speculation about a freak accident, of the sort that emergency-room nurses still hear when women show up with a boyfriend or husband and a lot of bruises. Also, he married her—didn’t that change things? Only, perhaps, her level of vulnerability; that will be especially true now. Back in May, the Ravens staged a press conference with Janay and Ray Rice, newlyweds at the time, the point of which was to deliver her absolution to the fans. One can’t say that she had made a bargain without recognizing the Ravens’ overwhelming role in brokering it. The same Twitter feed that, on Monday, announced that Rice had been cut had this to report back then: “Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.” It took the new video for the team to delete that tweet, months later.
I’m with Mark Hemingway: I don’t understand why the video needed to come out before they dumped him. It’s not a question of the surveillance footage showing that what he did was worse than thought. He was already charged with third-degree aggravated assault; video of him dragging her, unconscious, from the elevator has been out for months. Video of the punch itself hadn’t been seen publicly until today but people involved in the case had watched it and knew that it showed Rice knocking her out. Nothing happened today that the NFL and the Ravens didn’t already know, despite the league’s lies to the contrary. The only thing that changed is that the public, which more or less tolerates domestic abuse by celebrities in the abstract, got a concrete example of how brutal it can be.
Maybe she should have had a gun:
When Ray Rice beat his wife unconscious in an elevator, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Donio and New Jersey District Attorney Jim McClain agreed to put him in a diversion program for 1st-time offenders to keep him out of jail. But when Pennsylvania single mom Shaneen Allen was pulled over for a traffic violation and volunteered to a New Jersey police officer that she was carrying a legally-owned handgun with a Pennsylvania permit, the response of Donis and McClain was to deny her the same opportunity as Rice.
Allen lives in Philadelphia, right across the river from New Jersey. She has a Pennsylvania permit to carry a handgun. She thought it was recognized in New Jersey, just as it is recognized in over 30 other states. She was wrong. When she told the officer that she had the gun, she was arrested.
Now she faces a felony conviction and a mandatory 42 months in prison.