By Sal Bommarito
Yesterday, I watched a videotape of Ray Rice, the star running back for the Baltimore Ravens football team, punching and knocking out his fiancee Janay Palmer. The brutality of the attack and the way Rice dragged Ms. Palmer’s limp body from an elevator was horrendous.
Incredibly, the incident, which took place on February 15, was downgraded by the court at Ms. Palmer’s request. Rice was ordered to attend counseling, after which the charges against him would be expunged. It makes one wonder whether the authorities saw the videotape that was made public before they made their decision.
After he was charged, the NFL suspended Rice for two games for domestic violence. Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, decided to increase the penalty by suspending Rice indefinitely after he viewed the videotape for the first time yesterday.
The action taken by the NFL is admirable if we take their executives at their word that they did not see the videotape until yesterday. And certainly, Rice got what he deserved for such a horrible deed, a lifetime suspension from playing football. Other companies throughout the country should emulate the NFL when they must respond to domestic violence.
One would think that Rice had ample opportunity to vent his frustrations and aggressions on the playing field. What could this woman have possibly said to him that would incite him to smash her face with a potentially deadly blow?
A fair number of male professional athletes and entertainers have difficulty controlling their anger and attack their women. The Rhianna and Chris Brown episode comes to mind. Our police, court system and society should have zero tolerance for men striking women and children. Laws should be changed so that domestic violence that turns physical is punishable with a minimum sentence that includes hard time in prison.
Ray Rice may be a good man, a person who gives time and money to charity. But, he is a coward in my eyes for his dirty deed. I congratulate Goodell for stepping up and kicking Rice out of football.
If you believe that domestic violence is not a big deal in America, read this Washington Post article on the subject. It indicates, “more than 31 percent of women in the U.S. have been physically abused by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.” Further, the Post relates a statistic by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey that 19.3% of women have been raped.
The Post provides a chart showing the percent of women who have experienced domestic violence by type.
Slapped, pushed or shoved 29.7%
Slammed against something 15.4%
Hit with a fist or something hard 13.2%
Hurt by pulling hair 9.4%
Chocking or suffocating 9.2%
Knife or gun 4.2%
Also in the article, the Post writes that the Center for Disease Control reports physical abuse against women by an intimate partner results in 1.8 million injuries each year with more than 500,00 requiring medical care.
Is domestic violence a big deal? You bet it is.