Ray Rice has become “Peck’s Bad Boy” for a deteriorating National Football League. When the first video of him dragging his unconscious fiancée out of an elevator appeared in July, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell slapped Rice’s wrist with a two game suspension.
Goodell went on to revise the league’s disciplinary policy regarding domestic violence to include a minimum six-game suspension or more for the first infraction and up to a lifetime ban for the second, with the prospect of yearly appeals.
But now that a longer version of the video has surfaced showing Rice administering a left jab to the jaw of his future wife, “Jolly Roger” stepped to the mic and said that “domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong … illegal … unacceptable … under any circumstances … [and] have no place in the NFL …” He then suspended the Baltimore Raven indefinitely for the knock punch.
On first blush the zero tolerance policy along with the indefinite suspension of Rice looks like the NFL has taken appropriate measures and is moving in the right direction, but the truth is many abusers of women continue to play football in the league.
For example, Rice’s teammate Terrell Suggs has had two incidents with his then-girlfriend and now wife. In 2009, he allegedly, “threw a soap dispenser at her head, hit her in the chest with his hand, and held a bottle of bleach over her and their 1-year-old son.” In 2012, the All-Pro linebacker “punched her in the neck and dragged her alongside a speeding car with their two children in the vehicle.”
Earlier this summer, Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend and threatening her life. Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall has a rap sheet and has been charged twice for domestic violence.
Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks hit his fiancée; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant hit his mother; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker was twice charged with spousal battery; and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested for domestic violence just 72 hours after Goodell announced the league’s revised policy.
And these players rest at the tip of the iceberg. U-T San Diego reviewed hundreds of news reports involving NFL players since 2000 and compiled a list of arrests and citations that were more serious than speeding tickets.
It appears the reason Ray Rice has become the league’s “Peck’s Bad Boy” is that his “infraction” was caught on camera for the world to see. As Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends quipped, “the message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”
In other words, as long as players don’t get caught knocking out women on camera for the world to see, they’re cleared to play football in the NFL.