The Baltimore Ravens have released running back Ray Rice after TMZ put out a video showing graphically and indisputably what really happened in the Atlantic City elevator between Rice and his then-fiancee. The disturbing footage shows Rice punching a defenseless woman and knocking her out cold. Rice was previously suspended by the NFL for all of two games for the incident. The new video has prompted his permanent release from the team.
Here’s the thing though. What about the previous video that both the NFL and the Ravens saw before agreeing that two games was enough of a penalty to make Rice feel adequate remorse? That video showed Ray Rice dragging his limp-bodied, unconscious fiancee out of the elevator that she had entered standing on her own two feet. Rice admitted he assaulted her in the elevator. Why did the league and the team need to see the new video before deciding on adequate punishment? In our society domestic violence and rape are rarely witnessed–and the only evidence is often the victim’s story told afterwards. That testimony should be enough, when the evidence checks out, but too often it fails to compel a guilty verdict. What does it mean for our culture when the post-assault testimony is actual videotaped evidence of an unconscious woman being dragged away by her assailant–and it still isn’t enough? That evidence like that still needs corroboration by a video of the actual punch is astounding, unacceptable and horrible.