It was only two years ago that the world got to see the contents of the video of the Ray Rice incident. You remember right? The one where we saw on security camera footage as he struck his then fiancée, Janay Palmer, in the confines of an Atlantic City casino elevator. Even without the sound on the tape, it was a deafening blow that sent a shock wave of outrage across the internet, sparking a national conversation that would change how many of the population treated domestic abuse and violence. Before TMZ released the video, Ray Rice was suspended for two games by the NFL. Many demanded a harsher punishment, stating that two games were not enough based on the earlier video evidence of Rice dragging Janay’s unconscious body out of the elevator into the hallway. The NFL ignored these protests and carried on with business as usual. The Baltimore Ravens held a press conference in which Janay Rice apologized for whatever role she played in her husband hitting her. Rice was scheduled to return from suspension for Week 3 of the 2014 season. Then the video came out throwing everything into chaos.
The outrage was immediate. Sponsors dissociated themselves from the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens causing them to react as quickly as they could. Ray Rice was given an indefinite suspension that would eventually cost him his career. A domestic violence policy was put in place that was designed to prevent Roger Goodell and the league from falling victim to the same errors they had made in 2014. Yet here we are in 2016 going through the same thing with New York Giants kicker, Josh Brown.
Brown was suspended for one game to start the 2016 season after the league found out that he had been arrested at his home on charges of abusing his former wife in May 2015. The policy put in after the Rice debacle stated that any player involved in domestic violence would receive immediate punishment. First time offenders would receive a six game suspension. Those who were guilty of a second offense would be banned for life. Brown, however, was suspended for only one game with the NFL citing that “it had insufficient information to corroborate prior allegations”. He served his suspension and has played five games since then. It appears the situation was largely forgotten, as the NFL machine rolled on week by week.
New evidence was revealed, as police documents showed that Brown had a history of “abusing his wife physically and mentally”. Evidence that detailed acts so disgusting that it’s a wonder Brown was only suspended for one game. It’s quite the dramatic irony that we would learn of this in October:the month that the league dedicates to women and breast cancer awareness in an attempt to prove to us that they actually care about women in our society. Yet this situation with Josh Brown, shows they learned nothing from the Ray Rice debacle. The Giants showed just how little they cared about the fact that one of their players was capable of the acts that were revealed in the court documents.
In retrospect, Ray Rice was a leader on the Ravens. A Super Bowl winning running back and valued member of the community. As soon as the video came out that showed what he had done to his wife, the Ravens told him to make like a banana and split. Josh Brown is a kicker. Kickers get cut for much less. Why keep him on the team after serving a one game suspension, unless you genuinely didn’t care enough to uncover the full details of the allegations? If the NFL draft happened tomorrow, every team would have full dossiers compiled by their private investigators on every prospect they were considering adding to their team. Therefore, it’s hard to believe that the NFL found out about the full details of the Josh Brown case at the same time we did. Which is the same way they thought we would believe that they saw the Ray Rice video at the same time we did, even though there is documented proof that the tape was received by the NFL office months before it was leaked.
Did Josh Brown deserve punishment? Yes. But let’s get something straight: he’s a criminal. He needs to be punished by the law. However, I don’t think it’s asking for too much for the NFL to show that they actually care about domestic violence, considering how many cases occur that involves their players. It’s also not asking for too much that they adhere to the zero tolerance stand they claim to have on domestic violence. The shield continues to be stained by disgusting acts like this time and time again. We shouldn’t be fooled by them trying to show that they care by reacting after the fact. It’s an insult to our intelligence and the only reason they can get away with it is because they feel that no matter what people will still always tune in on Sunday to watch football. No more statements, no more useless policies. No more commercials. No more. Just action.