The NFL has announced that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been suspended two games for his off-the-field arrest. Considering what he arrest was for, this is a huge mistake by the league, as Rice definitely deserved more than a two-game suspension for his wildly-inappropriate antics.
On February 15, 2014, the 27-year-old Rice was arrested at an Atlantic City casino after him and his fiancée at the time (who is now his wife) got into an altercation in an elevator. Security camera footage showed Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée out of the elevator. Both were charged with simple assault for the incident. Rice was later indicted by a grand jury for third-degree aggravated assault, but it appears that charge will likely get dismissed, especially since his wife will not press charges. The biggest reason why the charges could get dropped is because Rice is involved in a court intervention program to help his cause.
There is something seriously wrong when Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon will be suspended for an entire year for an arrest involving marijuana, and Rice will only miss two games after allegedly hitting Janay Palmer so hard that she blacked out. I understand that Gordon also was recently involved in an arrest involving DWI, which does not help his cause. I also understand that in Gordon’s case he has been proven guilty, whereas Rice has not. However, if we have learned anything, it is that professional sports, especially the NFL, appear to have their own court system. Therefore, they can make the necessary adjustment.
By suspending Rice for a mere two games, the league is definitely sending the wrong message to the other players as well as the young fans who admire Rice. And, I’m sorry, but a $58,000 fine and request to undergo counseling just does not cut it.
The NFL is expected to announce the suspension at some point during the day on Thursday.