Video of what happened in the elevator between Ray Rice and his now wife Janay Palmer was brought to light by TMZ.com yesterday and a few hours later the Baltimore Ravens announced on their Twitter feed that, "The Ravens have terminated RB Ray Rice's contract this afternoon". Firing Rice, at first glance, seems to merit applause but there are more questions to be asked.
The startling video begins in a parking garage with Rice spitting into Palmer's face, she responds as she walks by him with a slap. After they enter the elevator it appears that Rice spits in her face again before slapping her with his left hand. Palmer reacts again by raising her hand, and then Rice backs up to the other side of the car. Palmer follows and is visibly agitated. We'll never know what Janay intended to do if she reached Rice (who is listed on the Baltimore Ravens website as weighing 208 pounds) because he drives his fist into the side of Janay's face with such force, landing a left hook that viciously knocks her from her feet before her face crashes into the metal handrail so violently that her head snaps back and she is rendered unconscious. The violence ends after her body falls lifelessly to the floor.
Realizing that the elevator was about to open Rice goes from attack mode to self-preservation as he sickeningly tries to stop himself from being discovered by getting Palmer onto her feet without concern for her state. Rice lifts Palmer's body from behind, hooking his hands under her arms. Then he drops her, picks her up again and drags her partially out of the elevator where he flops her body face down onto the floor. Janay is wearing a skirt, she is still unconscious, now partially exposed and lying with her battered face on the floor -- her legs blocking the elevator door.
I want to strongly urge you to stop for a moment and imagine that Ray Rice beat your mother, your sister, or your friend. Really consider that idea before you watch the video. The level of misogyny, anger and distain that Rice shows is but the preamble to his heinous crime and just when you imagine that what you are watching couldn't be any worse, he finds a way to serve one last indignity to Janay Palmer when he mistreats her defenseless body in what appears to be a vain attempt to get away with what he has done.
It's easy to hear about something like this and say that it is wrong but quite another to be able to witness first-hand what the word violence really means when it is used to describe a man battering a woman. Instead of having to picture Rice mauling your daughter in that elevator, you can watch as those words come to life. Ask yourself what kind of a person or entity could watch this video and continue a relationship with Rice.
It seems that we can only count on the National Football League and it's teams to do the right thing when there are no more lies to hide behind. The money they make and the appearances that they try so hard to keep up are their main focus. Plain common sense, compassion and social responsibility don't fit into the NFL credo.
I am the father of a daughter and a son, a husband and a person who watches football. I know that there are many of us in the country who can say the same and I am calling on you today to band together. People who watch NFL football have the power and the responsibility to pressure those in charge to clean up the league. We can and should remind the NFL on this day that the castle they are defending is built with our gold -- we can take it back.
The world will always have monsters, but we can let them know that some lines crossed -- can't be returned from. I'm hoping that the message sent to Rice with his termination will be a lesson learned by the next Ray Rice and that the fear of banishment will stop him from assaulting one of our daughters.
Moreover, the NFL is about to learn that doing the right thing won't destroy them, but will in fact make the league a stronger product that the fans can enjoy without shame. We in the public must keep the vitriol thick in the air; Rice's dismissal should not cause you to comfortably sit back on Sunday and watch the games. The NFL and it's teams need to continue on the path that began with the termination of an abuser by making a real and lasting commitment to a culture that does the right thing, even when no one is recording an appalling video that they don't want us to see.
All the fans need to do is care about Janay Palmer like she was our sister. Michael Vick's dogs as if they were our pets, American Indians like brothers and everyone else who is being victimized by the belief that the desire to see a football game is more important than an animal's life, a woman's safety or protecting a grandfathered slur.