The Tragedy of the Rice Situation

The Tragedy of the Rice Situation

Patrick Semansky/AP
Patrick Semansky/AP

In a civilized society there is no room, there isn’t any need nor are there many supporters of men who assault women.


America is a poster child of patriarchy so the least an American born male could do is not harm a less physically imposing being in a physical way.

For centuries (possibly longer) women have had their existences imposed upon by men.  Males have told women how to dress, what to say,  how to think, how much they should earn and their place in society. Hell,  men even tell women what to do with their bodies.

If one has never been a woman how could he feel comfortable telling a woman what to do with her body — her temple?

There is no doubt that Janay Rice is yet another victim of a system that has literally and figuratively beaten women. Her participation – or unwarranted victimization – in her family’s situation will negatively affect her life. The head of her family – her husband – is the cause of her plight and should be ashamed of the mental and physical anguish he has caused her.

What happened to Mrs. Rice on that elevator was wrong…but why was it?

As a society, we agree that domestic violence is a terrible and inexcusable situation. But what if the roles were reversed? Would people bash Mrs. Rice if she slapped/punched/or whatever else the media is calling Ray’s violent action against his wife to him? Would the National Organization of Men (look that up when you have free time) feel the need to call for people to lose their jobs? Would Mrs. Rice have her entire credibility destroyed because of it?

She would not.

She would be praised for being a woman with enough strength to deck her husband out cold. Ray would be emasculated for being a victim while she enjoyed media-lauding. Pretty much the opposite of what is happening to Ray would happen to Janay.

Don’t tell me you are upset with domestic violence. You are against men hitting women, which isn’t necessarily the same issue.

However, Janay didn’t hit Ray. He knocked her out. But we don’t know what caused it. We don’t know if she has been an abusive wife for the last few years or if Ray has a history of domestic violence with women. We don’t know their private lives. Unfortunately, a snippet of the Rice’s private life unfolded in a public space and has been broadcast on a global stage.

Their lives will never be the same.

Janay isn’t the only victim in this situation. The Rice family as a whole will suffer. Ray has become the scapegoat for an issue that has plagued the NFL for decades. According to ESPN reports, he was upfront with the Ravens organization and the league officials. They punished him but still remained supportive.

When the media got involved, there was no present help for Ray and he was suspended indefinitely. Last time I checked, it was unconstitutional to punish someone multiple times for the same crime. Who cares if you didn’t get it right the first time, that isn’t Ray’s fault. They abandoned him and left him for the media feeding-frenzy.

Unfortunately for the NFL, the media shows no sympathy for those who can make a story more sensational. Ray Rice is but a player; the commissioner of the league is a much bigger fish. The media has been itching to fry his ass and now they get a chance.

The worst part of this entire situation is that the worst part of Ray hitting his wife is that it looked bad. It wasn’t a “politically correct” hit. People wouldn’t have gotten so upset if he slapped her without her losing consciousness. Even if he would have carried her in his arms instead of dragging on the floor people would have responded differently.

People are more upset at the PR scandal it caused than domestic violence itself.

The true issue here is the contradictory ideology we have in this country. We say we don’t want domestic violence, but we only get outraged by it when a woman is the victim — and she has to get knocked unconscious for people to really care. We tell our athletes to live on the straight and narrow but we don’t expect the same from their superiors. A man could lose his job for hitting his wife, but a police officer doesn’t  when he steals the life from a young man.

What happened to Janay was terrible. But their lives will move on. The Rice family will have to pay bills and save for college tuition without Ray currently earning a salary. His family will suffer most. He’ll find employment again, but he’ll never be able to make as much money as he would before the elevator assault. Everything his family has grown accustomed to will be compromised. Given the situation, it was justifiable that the Ravens released him. But I have a problem with the league suspending him after the fact and ending any hopes he would have of making money in the NFL this year.

Although the media is sometimes an accurate portrayal of society, it doesn’t have to be. If Janay can move on from this, society can as well — even if the mainstream media decides not to.