You may not care much about football. Touchdowns, first-downs and tackling people may be as boring as watching paint dry. Yet if you are a human being than you should care deeply about the NFL’s latest example of completely and totally blowing it. Ray Rice, the running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was recently suspended for two games after beating his girlfriend, Janay Palmer, unconscious (story here and here).
I am completely and totally at a loss for understanding any way of explaining the NFL’s decision other than to say that they have made a huge mistake, to put it lightly. In fact, I’d like to ask Commissioner Roger Goodell the following question: what the hell are you thinking?
I’m sorry to be as blunt, but my level of disgust for the NFL, Baltimore Ravens, and anyone who thinks this is a legitimate punishment for Rice needs to be very clear here. Apparently players caught smoking pot, which is legal in several states, will be suspended by the NFL for far more time than a man who is caught on video tape dragging an unconscious woman he had beaten. Apparently an assistant coach’s homophobic statements, which earned a three game suspension, is worse than a professional NFL football player physically assaulting a woman and dragging her unconscious body by her arm. Check out this list of comparisons for more shockingly “worse” actions than Ray Rice’s cowardly treatment of a woman.
The NFL has failed us. They have totally blown an opportunity to speak powerfully against domestic violence. I can’t help but wonder if whether the fact that Palmer is African American has anything to do with this failure either, but more than anything, they have just communicated to everyone that what is ultimately more important than dealing with an unthinkable act of violence is the almighty dollar. Thanks, NFL and the Baltimore Ravens, for illustrating just how committed to justice you are. Rather than powerfully communicate how evil and immoral such violence is, you’ve taken the road that says it is worse to be caught doing illegal drugs than it is to violently attack someone who is physically weaker.
What the hell are you thinking?
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.