By Jenavie Jimenez
Until last February, Ray Rice was arguably one of the best running backs in the NFL, as well as the face of the Baltimore Ravens. February was a big month for the athlete, considering it may have ruined his image and his six season long NFL career.
In February, Rice and then-fiance Janay Palmer took a romantic getaway to Revel Casino in Atlantic City. On Feb. 15, news broke that the two were arrested for simple assault charges.
It was made clear that the two got into a fight at the casino, but details were not released. Rice’s attorney released a statement describing the incident as a “minor physical altercation.” Wrong.
On Feb. 19, videos surfaced of the “minor altercation” that took place on an elevator. The footage revealed that the altercation wasn’t so minor. In fact, it showed Rice dragging his fiancee’s limp and unconscious body off of the elevator. Police later revealed that the video includes footage of Rice knocking out Palmer.
Finally, John Harbaugh, head of the Ravens’ organization, released a statement, hoping to bring some positivity to the situation. He said, “The main takeaway for me from the conversation was that they understand their own issues. They’re getting counseling and those kinds of things, so I think that’s really positive.”
Fast forward to March 27, when Rice was indicted on his aggravated assault charges. His case was upped from simple assault to aggravated, which includes jail time. To be more specific, aggravated assault charges carry a minimum of five years in prison.
Palmer indicated that she didn’t want to move forward with the prosecution, despite the state taking action to follow up. Two days later, the couple married. According to friends and family, they planned a summer wedding, but moved the date without explanation.
Rice plead not guilty to the offense and accepted probation and counseling as his punishment. Just a slap on the wrist, if you ask me. On May 23, Ray and Janay Rice publically apologized for the incident, and promised that it was a one time thing. Janay was said to have made a very good case to her husband’s coach, assuring him that nothing like this had happened before.
On July 24, about five months after the elevator incident, the NFL finally took action and disciplined Rice by suspending him for two games. Yup, knocking your wife unconscious and dragging her limp body off an elevator only gets you two games. Shall I mention Justin Blackmon, or Josh Morgan, who were both suspended for close to an entire season for puffing the forbidden tobacco? Where are your priorities, NFL?!
Aug. 28 is when the NFL decided to get their stuff together and make some new rules, affecting all personnel, including executives and owners that choose to participate in domestic violence.
Prior to the Rice incident, there was no set punishment for domestic violence. As a player, you had a hearing with Commissioner Roger Goodell, and based on the facts of the case, he would issue some form of punishment.
Due to negative buzz about the Rice incident, as well as many others, the NFL changed the policy to a six-game suspension for the first offense, and a lifetime ban for second offenses.
On Sept. 8, TMZ released the full video of the elevator incident. That same day, the Ravens released Rice, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
Rice’s wife released a statement via her Instagram account, enraged at TMZ for releasing the video months after the incident. She was upset that the footage resurfaced, and discussed the pain that the media caused the couple.
“No one knows the pain that the media and unwanted opinions from the public has caused my family,” she said. “To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing.”
This is where it gets fishy. When TMZ released the video, over six months after the incident happened, the NFL released a statement stating that the video was “not made available” to them prior to TMZ’s release. This puts a weird spin because the Associated Press came out and said that the NFL received the video back in April. Huh?
The web of lies that have been spun over the last few months just shows how much we really don’t know about the NFL. The Rice incident is one of many that has occurred over the last year or so.
If you want to find out more info about any of these incidents, your best bet is to log onto TMZ.com, not NFL.com.
Jenavie Jimenez is the Arts Editor.