Tag Archives: Ray Rice

Rice got two-game suspension; Brady gets four?

Let’s see if we can sort this out for just a moment.

The National Football League suspended former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games after a video showed him punching his then-fiancée — and now his wife — in the face, knocking her out cold in an Atlantic City, N.J. elevator. It then elevated the suspension to “indefinite” status, meaning he would be unable to play pro football in the NFL probably forever.

Rice then appealed his suspension and had it overturned by a federal court. The NFL sought to send a message that it wouldn’t tolerate domestic violence.


It’s the two-game initial suspension that got everyone up in arms. It wasn’t enough, they said.

Now we have New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady getting a four-game suspension. For what? An NFL report says he probably knew something about the deflating of footballs prior to last season’s AFC championship game, which the Pats won by 38 points. There’s been no proof that he did anything wrong. Just a lot of circumstantial stuff.

He’s out four games. Without pay.

The message here? I’m betting the NFL wants to say that it won’t tolerate cheating, so they’re going to make an example of an All-Universe athlete.

But have you noticed Brady’s public demeanor during all of this? He’s looked a bit smug, as if he’s not taking this very seriously.

As my late mother used to say when she scolded me, “Wipe that smirk off your face or I’ll wipe it off for you!”

My hunch is that the NFL is seeking to wipe Brady’s smug look off his face.

Mission accomplished? I think so.


Domestic violence has scarred NASCAR

The National Football League has cracked down on athletes involved in domestic violence incidents.

Now it’s NASCAR’s turn to do the same.

The auto racing association today suspended one of its top stars, Kurt Busch, indefinitely because of allegations involving his former girlfriend.


NASCAR’s action comes on the eve of the inaugural event of the new racing season, the Daytona 500, known to racing fans as the Super Bowl of the sport.

Busch is the first NASCAR driver to be suspended. Chevrolet has ended its relationship with the driver known as The Outlaw. His case is being investigated. Busch’s lawyer vows to appeal and NASCAR says it will expedite the process.

This is a big deal in one of the country’s most lucrative sports. It speaks to the level of interest that domestic violence has gotten in the wake of the many cases involving NFL stars.

This suspension must send a message around the nation that this kind of activity cannot be tolerated at any level.

Busch has been accused of choking and beating former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll, who this morning told “Good Morning America” about the incident in which she felt her life was threatened.

Yes, Busch deserves a presumption of innocence. However, NASCAR cannot let this matter fester and boil over. Accordingly, NASCAR has acted with amazing speed on this case, perhaps taking a lesson from the NFL’s initially tepid response to the Ray Rice case in which the league suspended the star running back for two games, then rethought its light punishment and then suspended him indefinitely.

Rice was reinstated on appeal, but the case demonstrated a need to crack down on these savage acts of violence.

NASCAR has taken the hint.

Rice can return … but where?

A judge has ruled that Ray Rice can play football again.

You remember this young man. He punched his then-fiancée in the face, knocked her cold in a New Jersey casino elevator. He then got dumped by the Baltimore Ravens and was suspended indefinitely by the National Football League.

A judge has said the former Ravens running back didn’t like to the NFL and that Commissioner Roger Goodell overstepped his discretion by suspending Rice indefinitely.


Case closed?

Not entirely. Rice is without a team. My question is, who is going to hire a guy with the kind of baggage this young man is packing around?

I wish the suspension had stuck. The NFL is trying to mend its ways regarding domestic violence. The Rice case was thought to be a textbook case of a highly paid pro athlete gone out of control. Rice is one of several who face this kind of scrutiny.

It’s embarrassed the league, Rice’s employer. And speaking of employers, don’t they have the right to insist that the people who work for them behave in a certain manner?

I guess Rice will come back, or will at least attempt to come back.

We’ll see if winning matters more than character.


Peterson earns stiff suspension

The Adrian Peterson case continues to baffle me and it continues to play havoc with how I really feel about what he allegedly did to his toddler son.

But the suspension handed down by the National Football League against the star Minnesota Vikings running back seems like the appropriate punishment.

A grand jury in Texas indicted Peterson on a felony count of child abuse after he smacked his son with a switch, which left several marks on the youngster’s limbs and torso.


The incident occurred just as the NFL was reeling from domestic violence cases, not most notable one involved former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and the infamous incident in which he cold-cocked his fiancée in a New Jersey casino elevator.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Peterson failed to show proper remorse and has not taken part in hearings. Therefore, he will sit out the rest of the season — without pay.

Peterson has said the punishment he meted out to his little boy was no different than what he received growing up in East Texas. Really?

Well, that was then. This is now. Times change. So do societal attitudes about such things — although Peterson is a young man and it wasn’t all that long ago when he was his son’s age.

Meanwhile, the NFL is trying to rehabilitate its own image by cracking down on players’ personal conduct, trying to protect people associated with these athletes from further potential abuse.

It well might be in Peterson’s best interest to swallow the medicine the NFL has forced on him. Then he can try to come back and resurrect his career.

Hey, Mr. Lewis: Do not speak about criminal cover-up

Ray Lewis was one heck of a football player. He’ll probably be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.

He also managed to dodge a serious crime involving a homicide. So, when the subject of another pro athlete getting into trouble with the law, my advice to Lewis is simple: Recuse yourself from any discussion about this issue. Button it up, young man.


Lewis was speaking on ESPN about Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension from the NFL after a video surfaced showing him cold-cocking his then-fiancée. Here’s Lewis: “When you watch this video, you see that somewhere this young man, some leadership was lost. He got out there … and started doing his own thing and what happens is what’s in the dark is going to come to light.”

He might regret saying anything at all about this case. Why?

Well, in 2000 Lewis was involved in the death of two men at a Super Bowl party. He was charged initially with murder and aggravated assault when the men were stabbed to death. He testified against two other men who also were involved. The murder charges were dropped and Lewis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of — here it comes — obstruction of justice.

Oh, brother.

So now this guy pops off about another out-of-control pro athlete doing something “in the dark” that “is going to come to light.”

Social media went crazy over this little bit of wisdom from someone formerly accused of murder.

ESPN perhaps ought to have known better than to open this discussion in Ray Lewis’s presence. As for Lewis, I believe when the subject comes up again he needs to wave his hands in the air and say, “No mas.”

'Role model' definition needs some work

There once was a time when I disagreed completely with Charles Barkley’s assertion that “I am not a role model.”

The events of the past few weeks involving some high-profile professional athletes are making me put that comment in an entirely new perspective. Role models? Probably not. Ambassadors? Yes.

The pro football players who have been caught up in cases involving domestic violence and child abuse are facing criminal charges. Barkley, to the best of my recollection, never got ensnared in criminal activity while he was playing professional basketball. He said some strange things and behaved a bit boorishly at times. He could play a great game of basketball, for which he was compensated handsomely.

The activity under scrutiny these days is quite different. It involves the law and whether highly paid professional athletes have broken certain laws that prohibit the abuse of children or committing acts of violence on another human being.

As I re-watched Barkley’s video, he said something that rings so true. The real “role models” in children’s lives are their parents. “Just because I can dunk a basketball,” Barkley said, “doesn’t mean I can raise your kids.”

I cannot pretend to know what kind of childhood the men involved in these recent cases of alleged criminal activity had. One of the pro football players, Ray Rice, apologized for hitting his then-fiancée by saying he was raised by his single mother and that his behavior wasn’t the kind of thing his mom taught him to do.

I’ll accept that.

However, what about the role that these athletes play as ambassadors for the organizations that pay them these huge sums of money? Or the communities they represent when they wear the athletic uniforms that carry the names of the teams?

The role of ambassador should mean something to these guys, their employers and the governing body — in this case the National Football League — that oversees everyone’s conduct.

Another one joins a sad, sorry list of thugs

You can add Greg Hardy to the National Football League’s list of abusive scoundrels … allegedly.

He plays for the Carolina Panthers and has been added to something called the “commissioner’s exempt” list, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

I guess it means the NFL commissioner has deemed him unfit to play football while he’s being investigated for criminal activity.

Hardy, too, has been charged with domestic violence, along with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson (whose actual allegation involves abuse of his 4-year-old son).

Will there be more to come? I’m betting yes.

Houston, we have a problem.

The NFL well might be a deep source of embarrassment, shame and recrimination.

Large, physically fit athletes are being charged with some despicable crimes.

As bad as it seems to look now for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, I’ll give him credit at least for admitting openly that he blew it initially when he suspended former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for just two games after learning he had punched his fiancée in the face, knocking her out cold in that casino elevator. Rice is now suspended indefinitely and has been fired by the Ravens.

I’m beginning to think we’re seeing just the beginning of a long and miserable tale of woe in the National Football League.

Sponsors will get NFL's attention

Leave it to the sponsors to get through to the dim bulbs who run professional football teams, some of which are populated by criminals.

They are the entities that will get to the owners, the general managers, the sports agents and perhaps even to the athletes.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is now suspended indefinitely while Texas courts seek to resolve the indictment charging him with child abuse in the whipping of his 4-year-old son. What made the Vikings switch so dramatically? The Radisson hotel chain pulled its sponsorship.

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is under indefinite suspension for knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in a gambling casino elevator. Rice would marry the woman he knocked out cold and now the NFL Players Association is appealing his suspension.

What is driving all of this? The corporate sponsors who give big money to the NFL, to its teams and who pay players big money to endorse their products.

They’re going to yank those endorsements and those sponsorships.

That’s when the owners will get the message. Indeed, many of them are getting it already.

There likely will be more cases of domestic violence reported. Perhaps it’s a function of the violent sport. Hey, it might even be a consequence of the concussions these athletes are suffering.

Whatever the cause, domestic violence — and let’s include child abuse in that broad category of grotesque misbehavior — cannot be allowed to stand.

If the owners and team officials — along with the league — cannot muster up the guts to the right thing by themselves, then the sponsors will make the call for them.

Peterson case getting complicated

I’m trying to wrap my arms around the case of Adrian Peterson.

This one is much tougher to grasp than, say, the case of Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens running back who cold-cocked his fiancée and was suspended by the National Football League.

Peterson’s case involves his parental discipline techniques. He’s been indicted for inflicting injury to his 4-year-old son while disciplining him. The Minnesota Vikings running back — who’d been benched when the indictment alleging criminal activity came down — is going to play on Sunday.


Does the Peterson case rise to the level of the Rice case? Not in my eyes.

But now we hear about injuries inflicted by Peterson on another of his sons.

I’ve heard the comments from those who wondered whether we’ve gotten too “soft.” They bemoan the fact that their spankings by parents using switches — as Peterson did on his son — are now considered “child abuse.” I’m trying to keep an open mind on this one.

I don’t like what I’ve heard about the injury suffered by the little boy. Do they constitute child abuse under the law? Peterson says he never intended to inflict such injury, that he was just administering punishment similar to what he got as a boy growing up in East Texas.

About the only conclusion I can draw so far about the Peterson case is that it doesn’t come close to the kind of violence inflicted by other professional athletes against their spouses and/or girlfriend, i.e., the Ray Rice matter.

This one is causing me some heartburn.

I don’t condone Peterson’s attempt to discipline his young children. But I am not yet willing to accept that he deserves the kind of scorn that is being heaped on Ray Rice.

Congress to look into NFL conduct? C'mon!

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has opened the door for yet another congressional spectacle in which lawmakers will seek to call attention to a problem that should be solved by someone else.

Domestic violence is the issue of the day.

Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said today that the National Football League’s response to the Ray Rice scandal — he punched his then-fiancée unconscious, remember? — has been “outrageous.”


So, what’s Congress going to do about it?

Gillibrand thinks hearings are possible. To what end?

I think I know. The end will be to allow senators to make speeches, to get their names into print, their faces on TV and they’ll be able to express justifiable outrage at the way the NFL has handled these cases involving players striking the women in their lives.

Give me a break.

Congress has many more, and much larger, fish to fry — pardon the expression — than butting into the business of the NFL.

Yes, the league has a serious image problem. The owners need to hold Commissioner Roger Goodell accountable for the way he has handled the Rice matter. Goodell does work for the owners, who will need to decide whether the commissioner keeps his job.

The NFL already has launched an independent investigation led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, who vows to be thorough in his probe and plans to reveal his findings to the public the moment he has assembled all the facts in the case.

Let’s be clear: The domestic violence crisis in the NFL is a serious burden for the league to bear. It must make these offenders accountable and they must pay for the horrible acts of violence they commit. That’s within the NFL’s purview.

Congress has to worry about whether to approve air strikes in Syria; it has to look for ways to ensure that Americans are safe from terrorists; it must decide whether to act on the myriad programs proposed by President Obama, but which have been stuck in the congressional gridlock.

It need not conduct show hearings for the purpose of allowing elected politicians to make spectacles of themselves.