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RAY RICE
Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens addresses a news conference with his wife Janay at the Ravens training center on May 23, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland. Rice spoke publicly for the first time since facing felony assault charges stemming from a February incident involving Janay at an Atlantic City casino. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) | Rob Carr via Getty Images

The NFL is so popular, and plays such a charged role in American culture, that it has become a large paradox. The league is a mirror of society, reflecting our difficulties with race, class, sexual orientation, and gender. But the league is also an escape from society, offering a fantasy of liberated violence and untrammeled, almost superhuman power.

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