The surveillance footage of football star Ray Rice punching his girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator is a brutal business. On the one hand it’s senseless violence, to which NMR typically doesn’t pay lip service. On the other hand, the prevalence of new media involved in the story puts it directly on our radar. So we have to tread carefully here.
Grainy footage came out several months ago, showing Rice dragging his girlfriend’s unconscious body out of the elevator — and that was unpleasant. So with the clear video release of Rice actually punching his fiancé unconscious, the new footage is just a bloody red cherry on a domestic abuse sundae. The release of this video by TMZ Sports though, has had the unprecedented result of the Baltimore Ravens terminating Rice’s contract and firing him from the team. And that is what has everyone so up in arms. You see, prior to this new video being leaked on new media, Roger Goodell, the NFL Comissioner, had banned Rice for two games and issued him a fine.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said. “That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
So the reality is: had this video not come to light, Rice would have still had a job and the NFL would likely have swept this nasty business under the carpet. But with the world all able to watch in horror as a big man effortlessly knocks out a small woman, the old policy seems … ill-fitting. New media’s intervention has changed that policy — hopefully for the long term. But will teams be so strict on players when a camera isn’t involved? Ray Rice certainly isn’t the first player to assault a woman — nor will he be the last.
In lieu of the actual video, we’ve decided to post some comments from Twitter regarding public opinion of the newly-released video. As many of the commenters point out — it isn’t the media’s fault that this footage is in the public eye, it’s Ray Rice’s fault that he hit someone. If these tweets don’t slake your thirst to see the actual video, maybe you’ve got some issues to work out as well?