If you’ve ever known a friend, sister, mother or even yourself to be hit by a man I can’t imagine how you could make light of the actions that Ray Rice took against his then fiancé, Janay Palmer. Even if you don't know anyone in that situation, I still cannot fathom excusing this horrible mistake. There is nothing that an unarmed woman can do to provoke the type of behavior that Rice displayed in that elevator. Not only did he knock this woman (whom he so called loves) out cold, but he dragged her revealing her undergarments, and then nudged her with his foot to move her out of the way.
Some argue that this is simply a man caught in a dark moment who should not be punished so severely that his job be terminated. While I believe that we as people have no room to judge him because we are not God, I do believe that the Baltimore Ravens made the right decision. If Rice went unpunished by an employer of the status of the NFL, it makes his actions appear acceptable. If there were a tape of me punching a four-year-old child unconscious there would be an uproar of how much of a disgraceful, despicable woman I am. Why, because I am stronger than a four-year-old and the child would have no defense against me. People would say that I should be locked up under the jail. How is this any different from an NFL player, a grown man who clocks a defenseless woman? I don’t care how big and bad women may think they are, unless they spend countless hours in the gym pumping iron and throwing back protein drinks with a side of steroids, they are not beating a grown man in a fist fight; especially not a grown man that drags 300lb linemen by his calves on a regular basis.
Another argument that I hear is that we still support Chris Brown and others who were in the same predicament as Rice. I, personally was just as disgusted with Brown in his antics. I love his talent and there’s nothing I can do to stop that but I don’t support what he did. And much like what Rice is facing now, Brown’s career was drastically affected by his actions. All of his endorsements were pulled, he was banned from awards shows and other public appearances, and he will always have to deal with the questions that come with what happened the weekend of the 2009 Grammy’s. He had to face punishment for his actions, just like we do in our lives, in order to learn that his behavior was wrong (now whether he’s learned his lesson is up for question).
Much like many of us have with Chris Brown, I am not saying that we cannot move on from Rice’s bad decision. I am not saying that we can never support him again and wish for his future success. But he had to endure punishment. With celebrity comes responsibility and you can choose to agree with that or not but it’s the truth. When you sign up to be a public figure, you sign up to be an automatic role model. I don’t want our sons, brothers, cousins, etc. following the lead of Ray Rice. This may be one dark moment that surfaced but most men that hit women don’t just do it once.
As far as Janay Rice, her decision to stay with him is her own. We don’t know what she’s going through mentally, physically, emotionally but to even discuss her in this is unnecessary. All we can do is pray for her protection and a healthy relationship between she and her husband. That’s not getting in their business, our prayers have power and we should always pray for others’ well being, not just those that we know personally.
My only hope is for us to be able to support and pray for others in their weakest moments while not trying to excuse them of God’s punishment for their wrongdoing. We all have to face consequences when we make terrible mistakes. This may be God’s wake up call to Rice. He may need to be hit in the area where he has the most confidence in order to become a better man. He may be able to use this to build a platform for all men that suffer the illness of domestic abuse. He may change lives.