In February, 27-year-old Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on camera dragging his unconscious girlfriend Janay Palmer out of an elevator. The couple had been having an argument at a hotel in Atlantic City. Unfortunately, a lot of us have seen this footage.
When more footage was discovered this week showing the NFL football star punching Palmer, who quickly dropped to the floor, the Ravens decided to terminate Rice’s contract. The NFL has also banned Rice from football.
According to the CBC, the decision to dismiss the football player was made after a meeting with head coach John Harbaugh, president of the team Dick Cass and the Ravens’ general manager Ozzie Newsome.
I’m sure we are all thinking the same thing. Why wasn’t Rice’s contract terminated when the first video surfaced back in February? Wasn’t his behaviour cold and violent enough?
Initially, the NFL gave Rice a two-game suspension on July 24, which seems like a punishment for the sake of publicity. Not only was the brief suspension unfair to the victim, his wife Janay Palmer, it is also an insult to all the women who are victims of domestic violence each year.
Although she married Rice this summer and remains insistent that their relationship is a private matter, Palmer is clearly a victim. The 26-year-old mother of the couple’s two-year-old daughter, Rayven, has suffered from both a domestic assault and the stress of being in the public eye.
Unfortunately, Palmer is just one of the many victims of violence against women. However, it took her brutal story to attract the attention of U.S. President Barack Obama, countless media outlets, and her social media followers on Instagram.
Palmer’s response also raises warning bells and brings battered wife syndrome to mind. She posted a quote on Instagram, blaming the media for the uproar over the two videos. She angrily states that “THIS IS OUR LIFE”, but the truth is, this is not a lifestyle worth living.
Domestic violence is not a new issue, it is not a social media issue and it certainly is not a sports issue. Yet, the Ray Rice case has been trending on social media and making headlines since the new footage was released.
Just two weeks before the updated Ray Rice case came to public attention, 34-year-old Australian mother of four Anthea Mari was murdered at her home in Brisbane on August 26. Mari had been a victim of domestic violence for 15 years. However, her case received limited media coverage. The DailyMail reported that before her death, Mari was involved with a Catholic support group for domestic abuse victims called Micah Group.
Anthea Mari suffered in a troubled and violent relationship for 15 years. While it only took seven months for the complete Ray Rice case to arise, Janay Palmer’s wait has also been far too long. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, about four in five victims of intimate partner violence from 1994 to 2010 were female.
This isn’t Ray Rice’s story of fame to public shame. It’s the story of Janay Palmer, Anthea Mari and the many faceless women who have suffered through the same tale.
Sadly, the NFL could have used better judgment from the moment the first video was released to the public. The original two-game suspension seems like after-school detention or a fleeting time-out in the corner, a small price to pay for what should be an incredibly adult crime.
Photo Source: Instagram
Photo Source: Instagram