Miami New Times.This week, Luke explains why the NFL is out of control.
It should surprise no one that the domestic-violence case of Baltimore Ravens' star running back Ray Rice blew up in the NFL's face. Professional sports leagues operate in an alternate reality where misdeeds go unpunished until video or audio evidence surfaces.
League Commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens President Dick Cass insist that until recently, they never saw the security video of Rice knocking out his then-fiancée, Janay Rice, inside a casino elevator. Goodell and Cass claim they first saw the horrific footage last week, when TMZ released it.
But they didn't need the video to know Rice deserved a much harsher punishment than the two-game suspension he received last July. In a recent Baltimore Sun article, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said Rice was honest about his assault on Janay, who is now his wife. "What we saw on the video was what Ray said," Newsome told the Sun. "Ray didn't lie to me."
Goodell and his NFL minions didn't care about standing up for battered women until TMZ exposed them. They were trying to protect Baltimore's investment in a guy the team has already paid $22 million on his $35 million, five-year contract. That's why they had Janay publicly state she was partly at fault for being on the receiving end of her husband's left hook.
For comparison, look at Chad Johnson. The Miami-bred wide receiver already had one foot out of the NFL when the Dolphins immediately cut him loose after his arrest for assaulting his then-wife, reality-TV star Evelyn Lozada, in August 2012.
By suspending Ray Rice indefinitely, Goodell has now punished the star running back twice for the same offense. Rice not only entered a pretrial intervention program in a plea deal with prosecutors following the two-game suspension but he has also now been suspended indefinitely. It is possible Rice has grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
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That's how business is handled in the NFL.
Tune into Luke on the Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal, 940 AM.