Now what for Janay Palmer-Rice and yes Ray Rice, in the wake of The National Football League washing their hands of them and moving forward with business as usual. Despite what they have said publicly I’m not gullible enough to believe Commissioner Roger Goodell and Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti when they profess their thoughts and prayers for an employee that they have now fired and the wife that he battered because they suddenly became bad for business.
The one thing that has been proven through Bisciotti’s letter to Ravens fans and Goodell’s sit down interview with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell is that they have already moved on. One is preparing for a critical divisional game between his most hated enemy on Thursday, a game he and his team can’t afford to lose and the other is back to running a multi-billion dollar franchise while at the same time doing his best Olivia Pope crisis management impersonation. Neither has publicly expressed any personal concern for a woman who had her face bashed in.
To expect something more from The CEO of the most profitable sports league in the country and one of its principal owners would be too much. The culture of the NFL is “next man up,” you see that when a player is injured for a significant amount of time and you are seeing it now that one of the star running backs of the league has been released because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. While Steve Bisciotti has not publicly expressed support or concern for Janay Palmer-Rice you can bet your ass that he has talked to Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett about his need for them to be productive. If you are not sure who those guys are there Ray Rice’s former backups.
I have refused to put on a cape for Ray Rice since the beginning of this entire episode and I’m not going to do so now. The sight of him punching a woman twice and then dragging her from an elevator like a sack of potatoes, a woman that he claims he loves is an image that most people will never be able to erase from their minds. However the reality is Janay Palmer-Rice has chosen to keep her family together and that is a decision that no one has the right to question.
Bisciotti ended his letter to Ravens fans on Tuesday by saying that “We hope that Ray will continue to work to be the best husband, father, and person he can be and he will turn this awful situation into something positive.” Given Mrs. Palmer-Rice’s desire to go forward in her marriage that is what we should all want, but Steve Bisciotti and Roger Goodell think that their vast economic resources shouldn’t accompany their thoughts and prayers which is a way of thinking that typifies how NFL bosses view their fieldhands.
No matter how much they try to distance themselves from him Ray Rice is a part of the National Football League Family. He is apart of that family just like retired players are, players who were hit in the head too many times, or sprained too many ankles, or tore too many ligaments. The league should be front and center in providing every resource imaginable to Rice in his recovery from being a domestic abuser. The same league had to be shamed into providing those same resources to men who severely damaged their bodies and their brains while making the game and the league into what it is.
This situation should also be a wake up call to professional athletes and especially black athletes like Ray Rice. They need to stop living in a world and adopting a mentality where playing in the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, or Major League Baseball is the best thing that has ever happened to them.
Contrary to what certain factions of the media will tell you it is not a privilege, it is a job, nothing more nothing less. All of the hoopla on social media about how Rice won’t be able to support his family if indeed his career is over is head scratching. If Ray Rice after playing six years in the NFL and amassing a reported $14 million can’t financially support his family than his problems are bigger than the ones we know about.
For pro athletes it doesn’t matter if the wounds are self inflicted like Ray Rice’s or unintended, unfortunate circumstances, people like Steve Bisciotti and Roger Goodell don’t give a damn. They will continue to collect their millions while they move around the pieces on their collective chess boards. It is no big deal to them that Rice had to be taken off the table.