The Baltimore Ravens released running back Ray Rice on Monday after TMZ obtained and released a video showing him knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino elevator this past February. After the incident, Rice was arrested and charged with third-degree assault. He was able to avoid jail time by agreeing to a attend a year-long counseling program. The NFL suspended Rice for the first two games of the season. The light suspension was severely criticized as being way too lenient. Commissioner Roger Goodell responded to the criticism by revamping the league’s policy towards domestic violence and issuing harsher p[penalties for first-time and repeat offenders.
The moment the video was released by TMZ Monday morning reaction across not only the sports world, but all of media, was swift and pointed. There was a nearly universal level of disgust across social media and a renewed call for Rice to be properly punished for his actions. Below is video of the altercation in the elevator, courtesy of TMZ Sports. (Warning: The video is extremely graphic and disturbing.)
The Ravens really did not have a choice in this matter. Being that the NFL already handed down their punishment, it was extremely unlikely that they’d re-litigate it and add additional games and/or fines. With that knowledge and this video being made public, there was no way they could allow Rice to put on their uniform going forward. With the Ravens playing on Thursday, Rice’s suspension would have officially been lifted this Friday, meaning he could practice with the team and appear at the team’s facility. He also would have been eligible to play against the Cleveland Browns on September 21st.
The NFL has claimed that this is the first they’ve ever seen of the video, essentially trying to justify their light punishment of Rice. Many doubt that this is actually the case.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy made the following statement after the video was released:
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
Regardless of what the league says, it appears that the Ravens were well aware of the explosive situation it hand on its hands and finally decided to cut ties with Rice. At this point, you have to feel that Rice’s career is over. No other team is going to want to bring that level of toxicity to their locker room, no matter how hard up they are at running back. In essence, Rice has been given a lifetime ban by the league as he will no doubt be blackballed by the other franchises. Good riddance.