No one who has seen the video of Ray Rice clocking his fiancee condones his action. It is appalling. And no one wants to condone or excuse domestic violence. There is no excuse for abusing the weak and defenseless. But, is justice being served with Ray Rice? About four out of five commentators are telling us that the problem is rampant in the NFL and an example needs to be made of this guy. But, is there really an epidemic of domestic abuse in the NFL?
Remember it was not that long ago that some feminist group was warning us about the dramatic increase of domestic violence during the Super Bowl. Only, there was no dramatic increase. There was no evidence, just some groups assertion that it was true and, as you know, it's the seriousness of the accusation that trumps any evidence of the crime.
"...arrest rates among NFL players are quite low compared to national averages for men in their age range."-Benjamin Morris
Mr. Morris put together a chart comparing NFL players (who make the news a lot) to the population at large in the same age range:
Like mass school shootings, which have actually been in decline, anything the media sensationalizes raises the public consciousness. Is it because a guy in a Lamborghini who gets pulled over for a DUI is more newsworthy than a guy driving a '72 Pinto? Or because, "Hey. look! It's Ray Rice!!!"
What Ray Rice did was inexcusable. The league has an interest in their image and have every right to mete out punishment to players with less than stellar or aberrant behavior. While a two game suspension was insufficient, banning a player for life, while overlooking worse offenses by other players, is both draconian and hypocritical.
The NFL needs to formulate a disciplinary policy for players who commit domestic violence. This should fall somewhere between a slap on the wrist and capital punishment. But, the public first needs to get their facts straight. Just because incidents of domestic violence receive massive amounts of publicity, does not equate to a massive amount of activity. The NFL on the whole seems to be a pretty well behaved lot compared to the population as a whole. Partially, because many of them realize just how good they have it and how much they stand to lose, and some of it because they have coaches and teammates watching over them and keeping them out of trouble.
The NFL should set a date certain for the end of his ban from the NFL. Every game he misses is a de facto fine against him. Determine the proper scope of the punishment and administer some sense of justice. Other NFL players will take note, and to the extent that deterrence is effective, other players will be deterred.
But if you really want to take it all out on Ray Rice, how about we give Mike Tyson one free shot at him? Or me with a couple of my friends and a 2x4? But don't take away his livelihood for life.
Cross posted at LCR