A Scapegoat Named Ray Rice

When exactly does the entertainment purporting to be news become indecent, rageful perseqution? Wherever the feint, figurative marker is, well, we passed that point weeks ago in the hounding of Ray and Janay Rice. To some degree NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell, also.

I would not be writing this if I did not strongly believe that the treatment of these two young people is grossly unfair. Our shame is that those with the means and name recognition, able to call out the perpetrators of the relentless tyranization of Ray and Jaynay, are too cowed to step into what passes for media “discussion” . Either too uninformed or too timid to explain the distinction between the abhorrent incident and the unjust frenzied response.

That this was a fight initiated by her; that she suffered the worst of it; that his apparent lack of remorse or concern immediately following his disproportionate retaliatory response during the incident, we would all concur, was contemptable. However, that does not justify the couples vilification, the likes of which I have never seen in my many years of domestic violence intervention.

So to the core. (1) Domestic violence is a crime  and it belongs in the criminal justice system. That public agency developed rules and procedures for handling the thousands of cases it processes every day. (2) Ray and Janay met the requirements for the diversion program and accepted the conditions thereof. This is not a get out of jail free card, there are commitments with sanctions for non-compliance. ALL parties were in agreement. There is no mandate there that Janay must surrender her voice. To suggest that she somehow lacks agency to make  her own decision is an insult to all women. (3) Supply a cogent argument as to why the NFL has any business adjudicating domestic violence or any crime. Oh, the players are held to a higher standard? Hogwash!! Equality is paramount and so is the law.

Please don’t hit me with the wheel, with the cycle, with the dynamics and the statistics. The sheer volume of the crime’s occurrence is sufficient. So, just for a moment, let Janay and Ray be you. Would you not be befuddled seeing the very people who advocate for women’s empowerment reverse themselves claiming that you fit the “model” therefore you are not rational? Does’nt that bother you?

Are you, citizen Whomever, prepared to have ANYONE accused of domestic violence, (not convicted in a court of law) be fired from their jobs, yes from the CEO to the lowest menial laborer? Male or female. How about everyone having the right to call your boss to tell him that he has not properly dealt with the complaint, that his actions did not match the gravity of the offense; that you have new information therefore he must undo what was done and impose the punishment you wish to be dispensed.

All of us should be careful how we choose to evidence that we “Get It” , to use the language popular with the domestic violence profession.  I wish the best for the Rices and Commissioner Goodell.

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