September 12, 2014

If Ray Rice were ... Adrian Peterson?

Ray Rice, 2nd-tier NFL flotsam
Everybody who's an NFL fan is familiar with the basics of the story of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer unconscious in an elevator in February.

We're also familiar that after TMZ released the security video from that hotel, the Ravens made Rice a "former" player so fast the owners' shorts got whiplash. Then, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell piled on, all while claiming he'd never seen the video.

Deadspin rips that up, including noting in another post that one TMZ person says some of Goodell's minions DID see the video before Monday. (That said, TMZ officialdom is doing a careful, precise walkback of insinuations of that staffer's claims without actually denying it.)

And then, ESPN flunkies, and others, toed the corporate line on believing Goodell.

Keith Olbermann is right — Roger Goodell is an enabler of beaters.

Remember also, this is the league that has lied for years about concussions, that when irrefutably confronted in court on said lies offered its ex-players a lowball settlement.

Meanwhile, what if Ray Rice weren't Ray Rice? What if he were Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles? Or Marshawn Lynch or Frank Gore or LeSean McCoy? If he were triple the running back, AND had triple the cap hit and without the possibility of NFL cap relief, he might just be wearing a Ravens uniform seven weeks from now.

(Update, Sept. 12: Now that Peterson is in his own hot water, now updated with an arrest warrant, let's just see more of this spin out.)

But, because the NFL has little problem chewing up players then spitting them out, and many players and ex-players have little problem buying into that, Ray Rice gets dumped.

Even more laughable is convicted felon Ray Lewis claiming he's nothing like Rice. No, per a commenter, you're probably closer to Aaron Hernandez. More laughable yet is having Lewis, as a "mentor" of Rice, on TV to discuss this:
"Steve [Bisciotti, Ravens owner] was saying," Lewis said, "the reason that Ray Rice will never play for the Ravens again is when he saw this video himself, he put his daughter, he put anyone that's connected to him that's a female, he put them in that position. And when you do that, you have to take a step back—when you're an owner, when you're anybody who walks into a room and sees that type of evidence, that you haven't heard before, haven't seen before. And one thing Steve made very clear: There is no comparison of me and Ray Rice. It's night and day. It's night and day of anything we've ever been through."

So, did Bisciotti also say he'd never have his wife ride in a car with Ray Lewis? 

And, not laughable but sad is Janay Rice "covering" for her husband. No, she doesn't have to divorce him, if he actually has changed. That said, being put on the same stage as him by the NFL? Yeah, maybe she didn't have much room to tell any story but the one she did.

Meanwhile, in the case of Ray McDonald, it seems that Jim Harbaugh is joining the commish in the ranks of the hypocritical. From a Grantland piece, speculating on Goodell's future:
Three days after the new domestic-violence penalties were announced, Ray McDonald was arrested and charged with domestic abuse. It happened at his 30th birthday party, when police showed up to his house at 2:48 a.m. and found his pregnant fiancée with “bruises on her neck and arm,” which led police to take McDonald into custody. McDonald later professed his innocence and said “the truth will come out.” Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said, “If someone physically abuses a woman and/or physically or mentally abuses or hurts a child, then there’s no understanding. There’s no tolerance for that.”

But, McDonald played Sunday. Harbaugh might argue for legal due process to a conviction, but he'd still sound hypocritical. 

Per that same link, back to the Shield:
The only behavior this league polices effectively involves uniforms, celebrations, or marijuana testing that the rest of the country stopped caring about several years ago. Meanwhile, there’s still no HGH policy in place, head injuries remain a problem with no clear solution, domestic violence and offseason crime is an issue that’s not getting better, and as the league pushes for an 18-game schedule and a draft in late May, more people than ever wonder how much longer we can keep watching.
By the end of next year, especially in comparison to the new NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, and possibly to Rob Manfred, commissioner-elect of baseball, will Goodell seem like yesterday's news to the league's owners?

Silver, especially if he cracks down on Danny Ferry, will show that he takes race-related issues very seriously; I believe that other societal issues will fall in place. (The NBA still needs to have a better PEDs policy, though, especially on HGH.) And, baseball's concussion policy, pending upgrades on HGH, and in-place work on steroids, are all ahead of the NFL.

Old Dallas newspaper friend Brian Allen weighs in with similar thoughts.

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Update, Sept. 10: Now that we know that somebody at NFL HQ got a copy of the tape months ago, how long until the owners #FireGoodell?

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