In one of Roger Goodell's most important decisions as NFL commissioner, he abdicated his responsibility to society and to women in favor of a policy of ignorance. After Ray Rice allegedly knocked out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino and dragged her out of an elevator, Goodell suspended the Baltimore Ravens running back for a meager two games. Goodell, faced with disciplining a player over one of the most inexcusable acts a man can commit, just didn't act strongly enough as a leader.
This week provided some notable examples of Crime and Punishment in modern America. First, football star Ray Rice received a two-game suspension for knocking unconscious his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator. His coach promptly proclaimed Rice "a heck of a guy." Earlier in the week, Lane Johnson, another NFL player, was suspended four games for taking a performance enhancing drug -- a transgression apparently twice as bad, in the NFL's eyes, as beating up your soon-to-be-wife. In Arizona, the execution of murderer Joseph Wood went seriously awry, leaving him gasping for air for close to two hours before dying. Despite this grotesque death, Gov. Jan Brewer declared that Wood "did not suffer," but didn't explain how she could possibly know this. And, finally, there was a very different kind of punishment served up for our entertainment as the trailer for Fifty Shades of Gray was released, attracting nearly 7 million views in just 24 hours. Somewhere, the Marquis de Sade is smiling.