NFL running back, Ray Rice, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, has been in the news a lot lately. For those of you who have been sleeping under a rock the last few weeks, Rice has been accused of domestic abuse for knocking out his then girlfriend, now-wife, Janay Palmer at an Atlantic City hotel.
Let me start out by saying I didn't witness any of the events I am about to discuss, but I did see the surveillance video from the elevator where Rice threw the infamous punch.
While I want to be quick to point out that I think Rice should have never thrown that fist, I have to wonder why press coverage seems to be just a little one sided about the issue of domestic violence.
In the video, Ray and Palmer can be seen outside the elevator. From the beginning, it appears that she is upset. I don't know why she was upset and don't begin to pass judgment on whether she was justified in her anger but Rice is standing looking at what seems to be his cell phone as she walks past him and appears to throw a backhand at him. They enter the elevator and it looks like he leans quickly toward her as she appears to throw another swing at him. It is hard to tell but it looks like he may then block her swing or push her away from him. It is also possible that he hit her then but I haven't seen any reports to substantiate that. Then he backs away from her. He goes to the other side of the elevator and she advances on him. Then comes the punch heard round the NFL.
Rice has been cut from his team and suspended indefinitely from the league, pending investigation.
Janay has admitted to spitting on Rice and hitting him twice before he knocked her out. Folks, even though Ray Rice is considerably bigger than her, what she did sounds to me like the definition of domestic abuse. I'm not saying she deserved to be knocked out. I'm saying she is being held to different standards than he is.
In a similar story, famous soccer star Hope Solo was arrested this summer for an assault on her teenage nephew and half-sister at a family gathering in the state of Washington.
She was charged with two counts of domestic abuse, ordered to stay away from her nephew and half-sister and released on her own recognizance, and went right back to playing soccer.
Is the difference between the case of Rice and that of Solo the fact that Rice's was captured on video? That doesn't explain why no one is talking about the punches or spitting that Janay has admitted to. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has taken flak for initially reacting too lightly to Rice and other players' scandals. Ray Rice is looking at the possible end of his professional career.
Meanwhile, Hope Solo continues to play on the U.S. women's soccer team and has added to her impressive record of shutout wins.
Domestic abuse is wrong, wrong, wrong, no matter who does it. Anyone who abuses someone else should be held accountable, but it seems like Ray Rice is the only one who is being appropriately punished.
Am I missing something?
Before I close, I want to say something to any of my readers who may currently be in an abusive relationship. Get help and get out! So many people, like Janay Palmer-Rice, think that their love will change the abuser. It doesn't. It just doesn't. In the vast majority of cases, the abuser doesn't change, and the abuse continues or gets worse. He (Sorry guys, most recorded cases of physical abuse are of males abusing females, even though the reverse is not unheard of.) may promise to change. He may beg you to stay. He may even cry and tell you he's sorry, that it will never happen again. But it probably will.
Get help and get out.