UPDATE: I posted this about 15 minutes before news broke about Rice being suspended from the team. I agree that I think the more severe punishment is what Ray Rice deserved all along. However I think another pressing issue is how much did Goodell know or see before the original 2 game suspension. Media coverage and majority opinion seems to believe he had access to all of the evidence before the original suspension. If this comes out as true you will have many people calling for Goodell’s head to be right next to Rice’s.
This story just went from bad to worse… a lot worse.
Video footage of Ray Rice going Mike Tyson on his fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an elevator was finally released for the public to see. It’s bad. Rice doesn’t get hit by linebackers as hard as he punched Palmer in that elevator and now everybody gets to see it.
Rice was of course suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell for 2 games which was widely criticized as too soft of a punishment. That punishment will almost certainly come under fire again as now the general public gets to witness the deplorable actions of Rice punching Palmer and dragging her from the elevator.
The problem for the NFL is that there is no way for this to end well. On one hand if it is found out that they had access to this footage before everyone else and still made the decision to suspend Rice for two games then Goodell will face hell fire and brimstone from just about everybody in the world. His immediate policy change to 6 games will be forgotten and the only thing that people will care about is that the NFL knew it was this bad and still acted the way they did.
On the other hand can the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens now come back and punish Ray Rice more than they already did? My only issue with that is this: You knew it was that bad, everyone knew it was that bad. Palmer didn’t get on the elevator unconscious so while it was left to the imagination it is naive of anybody to think that what happened was possibly not too awful. My issue isn’t that his punishment isn’t deserved (whatever it turns out to finally be), it is that you waited and now are reacting instead of dealing with what you knew was an issue all along. To me it is kind of like punishing somebody for committing a crime, changing the punishment for the crime, and then wanting to go back and change the guilty party’s sentence.
If a team wants to remove itself from associating itself with an employee based on that employee’s actions then there is probably a lot of legal mumbo jumbo that goes into that, none of which I know. I certainly wouldn’t fault the Ravens for parting ways with Rice and think it would be PR suicide for anybody to pick him up.
In the end it won’t matter. The old policy that may or may not have forced Goodell’s immediate consequence is gone with a new one in place. This is just a black eye for everybody involved that will take a while to recover. (No pun intended)