What Else Can Really Be Said About Ray Rice At This Point?


Yesterday after the video hit the internet, our editor-in-chief spoke on how much the Ray Rice story absolutely sucks. Ed mentioned that within the staff of The Sports Fan Journal, there was a lively debate about publishing the video. However, he only told you about a part of that discussion.

While the TSFJ staff sort of argued over the merits of linking the video onto our site, we’ve openly debated each other regarding the coverage of this entire ordeal since the suspension was announced a month ago. It was less about the news itself; in fact a brief discussion that linked Keith Olbermann’s initial commentary on the two-game ban was a small result of said debate. Internally, we got ourselves worked up because there was a question about how to address some ill-advised responses within the media – Stephen A. Smith’s troublesome words being the preeminent example.

Whenever a significant controversy breaks, a strong desire to speak on it takes over for those of us who play with words for a living. It’s not only expected of our readers, but of ourselves. Yet, at a time where you’d look for various perspectives on matters typically hidden from our purviews, the truth is that we’re actually looking for consensus on whose stances are definitely right or wrong.

In the case of Smith, most of your go-to media outlets took the bait (some exceptionally, some horribly), but we stood back for various reasons too long to name here. As a sports commentary website, we collectively decided not to go there initially because at least to some of us, it would have amounted to nothing more than a hot take on a hot take about a serious problem that demands nuanced understanding.

Yesterday, the debate was naturally revived. Just before lunchtime, all of us that took part were so angry about what we saw from the clip on TMZ that we considered a three-word post that would have said what millions around the country are thinking. (No need to publish them.) The demand for somebody – anybody – to take a stance here was argued over once again.

Without going into details, it’s safe to say that we may never come to a full agreement on how to timely speak on these matters.

Though we still believe it to be true, each passing month of 2014 has tested the axiom of sports-as-an-escape. We have become accustomed to bad, horrible and despicable news in between the games we love. Contrary to the next social media post you’ll see after reading this, this isn’t new. Neither the ideal morals of a society, the worth given to its entertainment vehicles nor the debates about “what really matters” among the people have changed all that much across generations. What has evolved over time, however, has been how open we have become in analyzing, discussing and questioning every minutiae of the sports world.


That there is such strong chatter about domestic violence perpetrated by an athlete - whether a now-unemployed running back or an all-time great boxer with a sordid history of disputes with women - is something that wouldn’t have taken place even a decade ago, let alone at the dawn of professional sports.

[Although, let’s be real, it should be discussed on a large scale for anyone in the public eye, not just athletes.]

Though what has transpired since that horrible night in Atlantic City has shined a deserved and unflattering spotlight on the NFL, it has also revived that all-important awareness to an issue that has plagued society since the beginning of time. Yet, there’s inherently a problem with this line of thinking; we have a tendency to wait until a public figure is involved in order to pay attention.

Our problem here isn’t just about a need to see video as proof for anyone to believe that something happened. It’s about not always being privy to abuse taking place down our street or after we leave dinner parties. It’s about wanting to step in and stop any abuse we actually know about, but fearing the aftermath of such intervention. It’s about being unable to fully shield a loved one – family or friend – from mood swings and the violent and even deadly actions they inspire.

Perhaps the real stance to take isn’t to speak on the cause for as long as it’s in the media cycle. The stance is to look within and wonder what we need to do in order to eradicate domestic violence. Maybe we need to start figuring out how to provide safe havens for those we personally know are dealing with an abusive significant other. Maybe there’s someone reading this right now who was once the aggressor and strives his or her hardest to prove that there is some such thing as rehabilitation.

When we’re done rightfully huffing, puffing and blowing down the houses of foolish ones still victim-shaming, Janay Palmer Rice – and many others before and after her – is attempting to deal with this in a way that we can’t fully fathom.

Honest to any god you may pray to, what else is there to really say at this point?

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