A New Look at Domestic Violence Following the Ray Rice Suspension

By Regan Hoerl
SC Staff Writer

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is currently serving an indefinite suspension from the NFL. However, the cause of his suspension has stirred up many debates as of late.

The video of Rice dragging his then-fiancé (now wife) Janay’s unconscious body out of an elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City was taken in February of 2014.

TMZ only recently published the video of their encounter inside the elevator which showed a physical confrontation that ended with Rice punching Janay in the face.

The question is: Why did they wait so long to publish the video?

Rice and Janay were married after the elevator incident in March of 2014.

According to many blogs and social media posts, most are appalled to hear that Janay decided to stay with Rice after he not only punched her unconscious, but also drug her by her feet out of the elevator and down the hallway that evening.

After the elevator incident, Rice and Janay held a conference in May where Janay publicly apologized for what happened leading up to the elevator incident. Critics called the conference a “sham,” and some believed that the Ravens did not understand what domestic abuse actually is.

According to the Department of Justice, domestic abuse is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.

Ironically, the feminist movement was at an all time high in the spring of this year.

Hashtags for raising awareness were in full effect. #YouOkaySis challenged street harassment, #AskHerMore wished for reporters to ask more questions to abused celebrities, and #YesAllWomen was the main awareness hashtag women used to be heard on Social Media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook.

Before the video from inside the elevator leaked, the NFL only gave a two game suspension to Rice as a punishment.

When the video of the encounter inside the elevator was released, Ray Rice, the face of the Baltimore Ravens, was cut from the team. Shortly after he was released, Rice was suspended indefinitely from the NFL.

Some have defended Ray Rice’s actions.

On September 11, NBA star, and Indiana Pacers’ forward, Paul George tweeted, “Keep it 100 lets act on this police violence like we actin on this Ray Rice case! Stay strong homie.”

Afterwards, he tweeted and apologized to victims of domestic abuse, claiming his tweet was not directed at domestic abuse, rather at police violence that happens more than it should.

The women, who make up 40 percent of the fan base of the NFL, complained that the two game suspension was not enough of a punishment.

They demanded that NFL release a new domestic violence policy.

The NFL later revised their domestic violence policy after backlash from fans and media alike following Rice’s initial two game suspension.

Under the new policy, which includes coaches, executives, owners and any other team personnel, the first offense results in a six game suspension, and a second offense results in a lifetime ban (a player who receives a lifetime ban can be reinstated after one year).

Many have questioned the claim that the NFL had not seen the full elevator video until recently.

The NFL is notorious for knowing the smallest details about each player before they are drafted, such as the type of cereal they eat in the morning.

Is the indefinite suspension enough to teach Rice a lesson? Or, should the NFL join forces with the feminist movement to raise better awareness about domestic violence and abuse? Hopefully, the NFL will not see more cases of violence again.

Email Regan at:
rhoerl@live.esu.edu

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