Editor’s note: Shortly after this story was published, the Baltimore Ravens terminated Ray Rice’s contract. Read the story here.
Earlier this year, just after Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his fiancee, Janay Palmer, were arrested and charged with domestic assault over Valentine’s Day weekend, his lawyer described the incident as “a very minor physical altercation.”
TMZ quickly debunked that claim, releasing exclusive footage of Rice dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of a casino elevator. The rumor was that Rice had delivered the knockout blow, and somewhere there was footage from inside the elevator.
That casino, Revel in Atlantic City, closed its doors less than a week ago. I guess some staffer decided that since he or she was out of a job, it was time for a payday. This morning, TMZ released disturbing video footage of Rice attacking his then-fiancee, now-wife, in the elevator.
It’s worse than most imagined. Rice appears to slap her, and when she attempts to defend herself, he punches her in the face. As she falls, she hits her head on the elevator railing and lies motionless on the floor. As disturbing as the slap and punch, Rice callously ignores her limp body, seemingly unbothered until the elevator door opens. He drags Palmer’s body partially off the elevator and kicks her to wake her up. Eventually other people approach to find out what’s going on, and Palmer begins to regain consciousness.
Rice is a sick, disturbed man who is in need of intense therapy to manage his anger. I said that on various social media platforms this morning. In some circles (often the ones still wondering what Palmer said or did that infuriated Rice, as if it matters), my thoughts were met with responses like, “Well, we don’t know the full story”—really? You need more than this video?—and “Don’t judge.”
If I may say a word about this “don’t judge” mentality that emerges every time something crazy happens: “Don’t judge” is the pseudo-intellectual version of what “stop snitching” is in the streets. It’s a poor excuse not to think critically. It’s passive-aggressive. It’s avoiding being a contributing member of society. It’s why evil triumphs.
Folks are afraid to say that they have standards anymore and to draw a line on BS. And they will be the same people wondering why crazy mess keeps coming into their lives. You open the doors and let everyone in, and anything flies because you are too scared, or too simple, to use your judgment.
I was appalled by the lack of judgment in the NFL’s handling of this incident. A two-game suspension is a weak punishment. Now, after seeing this video—which the NFL says it did not see before giving Rice a slap on the wrist—I hope that in light of the new footage, the league will give Rice a harsher punishment—perhaps the six-game suspension as stated in its latest personal-conduct policy.