What I've seen throughout the startling break of the Ray Rice scandal is a lot of people asking for second chances: A player, who I'm sure wishes every day of his life he could change what happened that night in that elevator, a woman who wishes this would all go away and somehow she could be spared the horror she's now living with, a coach who wishes he could have done better, a team owner who wishes he had made different choices and a commissioner who wants to be given a second chance to get it right.
Where we are right now with the Ray Rice domestic violence ncident with the Ravens, the Greg Hardy incident with the Panthers, even the Adrian Peterson child abuse incident with the Vikings, all lead to the same question, "Where are we going with all this?"
We have all the interviews with the commissioner, coaches, and team owners all apologizing. You've got your sponsors pulling out, and that quit honestly shook everything to its core. If you take a step back we have to say that it's a PR nightmare, no question.
But... let's take a look at the silver lining. It's 2014 and there is a public outcry against domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. There needs to be a cultural change with the league's front office. It can no longer be the dirty little secret that no one wants to talk about. We're talking about it and we're talking loudly about it. Our society is demanding changes and there will be heavy consequences for all those who do not implement appropriate changes. It's kind of sad that money and PR was what fueled this, but whichever way it happened, who cares, as long as we are now advocating for change and our victims will somehow, through it all, get some attention and hopefully some healing.
What I find interesting was the loving energy that Stephan Bisciotti showed for Ray Rice. It was like a father who's son brought shame to his family. Bisciotti believes that Ray will come out better for this and as a healer myself I would hope for that as well. Is it possible? Absolutely, with the right intervention. But what about Janay. The wife, who did not suffer her first blow in that elevator. Who now suffers with a husband who is now out of work and God only knows the wrath she must be dealing with now along with her guilt and whatever ghosts are haunting her. Her pain was only magnified by all of this. And that's what happens to victims of domestic violence who come out with their story. And then people say, "Oh, but she married him." She was a victim way before this came out and she remains a victim. And what a great legal move on the part of Rice's legal team. Wives can't testify against their husbands. People that have not dealt with domestic violence do not know the fear a victim lives with. And her face during Rice's press conference while she sat next to him told it all. She was petrified then and I am sure is even more petrified today.
My point to Commissioner Goodell is that it doesn't need to take you until the Super Bowl to implement changes to the personal conduct code of the players. A team needs to be assembled to execute a game plan that can win this social struggle that plagues our society today. It would be amazing to have the NFL lead us in this battle. And who needs to be on that team? Simply, an attorney, NFL front office executive, a psychotherapist, NFL players' union rep, a coach and an owner. That's it. He says he needs to get it right? Then he needs to pick his team and get to work.