Man this Ray Rice thing has gotten worse in ways I was hoping it wouldn’t. I was hoping for a nice long suspension and everyone going “yup go away you wife beating turd”.  Nope. The NFL gives him two games off and the aftermath of this short suspension brings out catastrophic opinion waggling across the sports community.

Rice deserves more than 2 games off. He beat his GF (now wife!) unconscious and dragged her around. A lot of people have come to the NFL’s defense on this, and while I can kind of see where they are coming from I just don’t get it. The obvious problem here is that Rice is getting 2 games off for domestic abuse while other players are getting 4 games for things like Adderall. In the case of Josh Gordon, he’s getting a year off for smoking weed again. Doesn’t there seem like a problem here? Why is someone who domestically abusing people getting fewer games off than someone who took a drug?

There are some severe problems with NFL policies here. There just doesn’t feel like a fair punishment. A lot of people are pointing to this being Rice’s first offense, and that it was an incident that does not affect the NFL at all. He punched out his wife, he didn’t beat up another player, nor did he take steroids which would give him advantages over other players. This was an outside the league event. I think that argument is crap.

The NFL has never been shy about punishing players for conduct detrimental to the league, even if said incident has nothing to do with the league. The NFL wants upstanding citizens, or least the appearance of them. The league is all about keeping up appearances (which makes the short Rice suspension even weirder) and players doing stupid things reflects badly on the league because it makes the league look like they willingly complicit in harboring terrible people. I mean, they do, but they are usually pretty good about stomping out immediate threats to that identity. For the ultimate case against Rice I want to present his rival Ben Reothlisberger. Big Ben got 4 games (Reduced from 6!) for his rape. Oh wait, he was never convicted. He was never arrested. He settled out of court. We don’t know if Big Ben raped that girl or not. We like to joke that he did, but none of us actually know for sure. The point is the NFL didn’t care whether he did or not, they suspended him anyway because it made the league look bad. Almost half a season, but at least a quarter of a season. Yet Ray Rice gets 2 games less? Rice deserved 4 games minimum. 4 games should be minimum for something like this. Ben got 4 games years ago, and the NFL is more committed to appearances now, so why is Rice getting less? It makes no sense. I expected the NFL to very publicly shame the hell out of him. When Big Ben got in trouble, Goodell wrote a very public statement about him. Yet the Rice situation has been pretty quiet coming from the source.

On top of that, yes it is a first offense, but it’s a doozy. The NFL has policies that make it more harmful to your career to take adderall or smoke weed a few times than to punch out your GF, and that just feels dirty. I think that is where the anger is coming from. Maybe Rice is getting a fair shake via NFL policy, but that just seems to show how terrible the policies are in the first place.