“NFL Announces New Zero-Tolerance Policy on Videotaped Domestic Violence” ~Post title on The Onion, September 9, 2014
Can we talk?
I’ve been reading the news and reading Facebook posts, which are not the same thing at all, but still the same topics are often aired in sound bites, captioned photos, and links to articles that sometimes we *like* but do not read.
Apparently, there are some who think Ray Rice should get another chance to play in the NFL. I don’t agree, but OJ Simpson probably does. Apparently, there are also some who think his now-wife is equally to blame. I don’t agree, but Chris Brown probably does.
Do married people fight at times? Provoke each other at times? Hurt one another at times? Yes, yes, and yes. But Janay Rice did not knock herself out. And nothing she has ever done or said caused her to get knocked unconscious by someone she loves. Ray Rice did it. We all saw it. He delivered a knockout punch to someone he says he loves.
And it is a damn shame that the NFL took a different stand only after a videotape of the knockout blow was released. Domestic violence typically takes place behind closed doors, with no independent witnesses, no video footage to tell the story. The elevator videotape allowed for a story to be told. It moved a dark issue into the light, even as it was very hard to watch.
I saw a bright side this week, on Facebook of all places. I saw many people speaking up. But I’m thinking of a few men in particular who are Facebook friends of mine. These guys raised their voices and stood strong when some of the comments went places that decent people do not go. These men give me hope.
One of them wrote this:
It’s funny how, for weeks now, everybody KNEW Ray Rice punched his wife & dragged her unconscious body out of the elevator, but once the video of it happening surfaced yesterday: consequences.
It’s like, without the video, just knowing that it happened was somehow mitigated, like the Ravens (who immediately cut him today) watched the video and went “Oh! You mean he PUNCHED her! Our bad, totally misunderstood what that meant.” Or the NFL, which immediately suspended him indefinitely (today), somehow thought it was justifiable wife punching until the video came out.
Wait, did I say “funny” up above? I meant disgusting and shameful.
And another one wrote this:
There are people that deserve second chances, obviously. Men that knock their women unconscious with one punch, pedophiles, animal abusers, people that abuse the elderly, people who rape don’t. There you go. There are the new rules.
And someone else wrote this:
I [have seen] first hand how it is hard for a victim to leave and to get out. So, don’t question Ray Rice’s wife for marrying him. Just know that it goes deeper than what you may think. Pray for her.
I’m grateful for strong voices like those above. These guys are upstanders. I don’t care what anyone says about how hard it is to find a good man these days. I see them everywhere.
And now I have something to say to Janay, in response to this:
“To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing,” ~Janay Rice, in an Instagram post dated September 9, 2014.
I don’t want you to relive that moment, Janay. But the odds are not in your favor.
Below is a link to the open letter to Rihanna that I posted on this blog several years ago. It applies to Janay.
I don’t fault Janay Rice for staying, for saying what she has said, or for doing what she has done. I also know that she could have died in that elevator. Her baby girl could have lost her mama. But Janay Rice was spared, this time. When she woke up from that knockout punch in the elevator, she was given a second chance.