Video or it Didn’t Happen: The Ray Rice Story

Editor’s Note: The following is based on my opinion and my opinion alone.

By now, everyone has seen the atrocious video of three-time Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice viciously punching and knocking out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in a hotel elevator. And by now, everyone has also heard that the Baltimore Ravens have terminated his contract and the NFL has suspended him from playing in the league indefinitely.

But remember, even though the video is relatively new to the public and the NFL (so it claims), the events are not. Ray Rice hit his fiancee, was arrested, and subsequently indicted for third-degree aggravated assault on March 27. This was a confirmed fact. Rice admitted it. Rice’s fiancee attested to it. And eventually, the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged it and levied a suspension on July 24 that would keep Rice from playing in the first two games of the 2014 NFL season. There was never a need for actual video to prove what happened or to eventually force the NFL to initially “discipline” Rice. But that’s what it took for anybody to actually do anything about it.

Why?

No one learned anything by the video being released. Not the fans, not the NFL, not the Ravens, nobody. To me, this is the second most terrible part of this whole situation, besides the act itself.

Could the Ravens organization and Roger Goodell not picture what it looks like to see a 212-pound professional athlete land a solid left hook to the jaw of a defenseless woman? Did the initial reports confirming the fact that Rice knocked his fiancee unconscious fail to illustrate what happened?

Of course Goodell knew what it looked like. And of course the Ravens realized how bad it was. But since it was just some words on the Internet and some scolding columns from sports writers around the country, it wasn’t any worse than any tough situation the league or the Ravens had been in before (Note: See Ray Lewis).

The Ravens and the NFL both figured they had successfully lived down the whole situation. Goodell implemented new policies that would levy harsher penalties for players involved in domestic violence, making him look like he was actually trying to discourage his players from hitting their wives or girlfriends in the first place! And though the Ravens certainly seemed to suffer a bit of a blow after a defeat in their season opener without Rice, two weeks later they’d be whole again and both the organization and its head coach would welcome back their running back gone astray and things would be just like they were before.

And they all would have got away with it too if it wasn’t for that meddling TMZ.

The fact is, the only thing that matters is public perception. And the public has difficulty perceiving the real truth unless it is delivered to their eyeballs, because black and white text just doesn’t cut it, apparently, or at least in the eyes of Roger Goodell and the Baltimore Ravens. What Rice had done was certainly bad, but it didn’t actually “look bad” until people had something to look at. Sure, Rice’s reputation was sullied because of all the reports and negative attention before the video was released, but it didn’t devastate his career, and it certainly didn’t turn fans away, as evidenced by their warm reception of Rice in Baltimore’s first preseason game of the year.

Before the video, the Ravens and the NFL shared the same point of view: Time was healing the wound and soon it would be closed with nary a scar to show for it. Both the Ravens and the League had nearly solved their problem by ignoring it because of the public’s short attention span. I mean, that’s probably why Ray Lewis got a statue outside M&T Bank stadium, right?

It took a grainy video to confirm facts we all knew had definitely happened and that’s the only reason Ray Rice, the NFL, and the Baltimore Ravens didn’t get away with turning a blind eye to domestic violence.

Let’s hope all of these mistakes end here, before any more false idols are erected and before more wife-beating thugs think they can get away with it. Let’s hope that Roger Goodell and the NFL realize that it shouldn’t take video evidence for real justice to be served.

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The Super Bowl explained for U.K. audiences

As the Super Bowl creeps ever closer to kickoff, more and more folks around the world are beginning to take notice. That includes the tea-drinking, pub-going, Harry Potter-creating Brits! So for their pleasure (and for that of Americans as well), I’ve clarified some of the finer points of American football and the Super Bowl itself so that we all may be one in enjoying the biggest sporting spectacle in the US of A.

Some of it is simple explanation of the rules, while other parts are pure tongue-in-cheek entertainment! Or, as my editor Pete Starr put it in a tweet…

A bit of fun.

So have yourself a bit of fun and check out my latest edition to Mud, Sweat and Beers, the Match Pint blog.

And if you don’t understand a few of the words, don’t worry, that just means you’re American. British Pete has Anglicized some of the words to appeal to the target audience, the citizens of the Queen and what have you.

And if you missed my basic break down of the two Super Bowl teams and the story lines surrounding them, you can find it here!

Super Bowl 47 preview on Mud, Sweat and Beers

With the Super Bowl approaching, I’m back at some NFL analysis for Mud, Sweat and Beers — the Match Pint blog. It’s chock-full of interesting info, a few laughs and a little preview of both teams’ most powerful weapons.

Give a click right here to check it out and as always, enjoy.

The best of the worst: bright spots for non-playoff NFL teams (Part 4)

As the NFL playoffs march on, more teams are being divided into the respective “winners” and “losers” categories. But remember, if your favorite team reached the playoffs in the first place, they were winners. If they didn’t, well, then I’ve been writing about them a lot lately.

Because I’ve been writing about losers.

This is the final edition of Best of the Worst, the first set of posts I’ve been writing for Mud, Sweat and Beers, the UK’s Match Pint blog. It focuses on the lowly Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs.

Your passage to check out the bright spots of these true NFL losers is right here.

And if you enjoyed the Best of the Worst, stay tuned for more of my posts on Mud, Sweat and Beers!

The Best of the Worst: Bright Spots for Non-Playoff NFL Teams (Part 3)

In the NFL, there are good teams, bad teams and some that fall between those two categories. As I continue on with Best of the Worst on Mud, Sweat and Beers — the Match Pint blog — the analysis will include some very bad teams.

They can’t all be winners, now can they?

Part 3 features the New York Jets (TIM TEBOW TIM TEBOW TIM TEBOW), Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals and the Cleveland Browns.

Go ahead and click here to read Part 3. Do it.

The Best of the Worst: Bright Spots for Non-Playoff NFL Teams (Part 2)

Today, I continue to roll through the bright spots of NFL teams that didn’t make the playoffs this season. The records are getting worse as I move down the list of teams two things are becoming apparent: The bright spots are getting fewer and my criticism is getting harsher. But hey, if you don’t want to get scolded for having a terrible season, don’t have a terrible season.

Yes, life is tough.

Today, Part 2 of Best of the Worst is up on Blood, Sweat and Beers, the Match Pint blog. It covers the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and the St. Louis Rams.

Click right here to check it all out.

Enjoy.

The Best of the Worst: Bright Spots for Non-Playoff NFL Teams (Part 1)

I recently developed an opportunity to do some work for Mud, Sweat and Beers. It’s the sports blog for Match Pint, an online and mobile service in the United Kingdom, which shows sports fans what game is being televised in which pub, wherever they are, on their computer or via their iPhone.

The blog and service are mainly devoted to sports (mostly soccer) in the UK, but they also wished to branch out and start hitting on some American sports.

I think it was a swell idea.

My first entry (out of many, hopefully) is devoted to spotting the positives within this year’s non-playoff NFL teams. It’s a bit satirical, possibly upsetting, but probably entertaining.

So if you’re team didn’t make the playoffs this season, check out why I think all hope is not lost. Whether you agree with me or not, it’s likely to stir up some emotion. Laugh, cry, leave me comments (good or bad).

Part 1 covers the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Carolina Panthers.

Click right here to check it out.

And if you’re a soccer fan, be sure to check out the rest of their stuff.

As always, enjoy!

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