The Internet — that living, breathing mob of opinion that builds on itself and creates consensus in a matter of moments — was true to form Thursday morning, and didn't leave much nuance in relation to Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension.
Many believed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell came down soft on Rice, relating it to drug suspensions of other players, and also called into question the league’s women’s health initiatives that it pushes each October.
Here’s a small representation of what they’re saying about Ray Rice’s two-game suspension:
ESPN W's Jane McManus believes it's indicative of a problem with domestic violence in the league.
And now ... two games? Commissioner Roger Goodell has issued longer suspensions for pot smoking, taking Adderall, DUI, illegal tattoos, dog-fighting and eating a protein bar that you thought on the NFL approved list.
Two games. It's a joke, and a bad one. Worse, it leaves the door open for people to think that Janay Rice bears a lot of the responsibility for eliciting the punch that knocked her out.
- Maggie Hendricks, of USAToday’s The Q, said the suspension sends an awful message.
The NFL had an opportunity to send a clear and direct message about the consequences of domestic abuse. They could have looked past the PR campaign Rice and the Ravens are now putting on. They could have seen the press conference Rice and his now-wife participated in as the sham it was. …
Instead, they’re telling players that smoking a joint — which is legal in two states — is much worse than knocking out a woman.
- Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke wrote the suspension shows where the league’s priorities are, and didn’t mean that in a complimentary way.
But at some point, it's reasonable to ask that Goodell step outside the black-and-white league rules and approach his job with some semblance of a human element. The league's drug policy was put in place as part of the latest collective bargaining agreement, but Goodell has full authority on punishments for most other issues. Is taking Adderall really twice as egregious as knocking out your fiancée? Are multiple pot-related missteps worthy of a punishment 800 percent greater than what Rice is set to receive?
Anyone with common sense, even Ravens fans hoping to get Rice back on the field, should answer no in both cases.
- Jane Costen wrote at SB Nation that the NFL doesn’t care about women.
The NFL doesn't have a domestic violence problem -- it has a "solution to domestic violence" problem, because its solution is "you will miss two early-season games and get fined." And apparently this isn't lenient enough!
- Clay Travis wrote on FoxSports.com that the suspension just doesn’t stand up next to other discipline.
Ray Rice is the flashpoint today, but this isn't so much about Ray Rice as it is the NFL's untenable position on punishments for violence. It's an upside down NFL world. Violence against women is acceptable, words or non-violent acts are often unacceptable. It's an infuriating and stupid and indefensible double standard, the exact opposite of what should happen. Violent acts should be punished infinitely more severely than non-violent acts or words.
Twitter was tough as well, including national media personalities:
NFL not usually tone deaf, but 2 game suspension for Ray Rice defies logic and explanation. Sends wrong message in all capitals.— Don Banks (@DonBanks) July 24, 2014
Interested to see how @nflcommish justifies the Ray Rice suspension. Often accused of being overly harsh, he now faces opposite criticism— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) July 24, 2014
Here, a tweet from Rice’s former teammate, Derrick Mason.
Does the NFL value women? Is that better grammar police? If you look at every DV case the NFL has been very lenient when it come to suspen.— Derrick Mason (@deemason85) July 24, 2014
This piece could go on forever, really. I’d advise you to do a Twitter search for Rice on your own to get a full picture. Rice has already been through the public wringer for his arrest and the subsequent press conference with his wife, so most of the vitriol is directed at Goodell. Who can blame them?