HOLMBERG: NFL fumbles domestic violence, but so do we

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RICHMOND, Va. -- To me, there’s really nothing surprising about this whole Ray Rice domestic violence mess.

It’s not surprising that  this powerful leading rusher for the Baltimore Ravens knocked out his fiancé in an apparent alcohol-fueled argument in an elevator. That videotape has likely played more on national television this week than news of the crisis with ISIS in the Middle East.

It’s not surprising because these modern day gladiators are trained to be as aggressive and brutal as they can possibly be from before high school and – at the same time – are encouraged to be perfect gentlemen.

Many pull it off.

Think Russell Wilson, RGIII, the Manning boys. But many don’t, i.e. O.J. Simpson, Ray Lewis and now Ray Rice.

And it’s certainly not surprising that his fiancé married him anyway, the day after he was indicted. Battered women do that. So do people in love who are filled with hope. Not to mention people who like having millions of dollars.

It’s not surprising he was only charged with misdemeanor assault. There were reportedly no broken bones, cut flesh or big bruising, typically the criteria for felony assault.

And it’s not surprising Ray Rice just got a two-game suspension. The victim, Janay Palmer Rice, certainly didn’t want more. You can imagine her pleading her husband’s case with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

And remember,  we wouldn’t even be having this conversation without that dramatic elevator video. We seem to love to flit from one video outrage to the next.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that we as a nation require that someone else besides Ray Rice has to take a hit on this.  Many are the shouts for Roger Goodell’s firing.

There are now media reports that a law enforcement source gave the shocking elevator video to the NFL months ago.

Goodell was asked about that earlier this week, point blank, by a CBS reporter.

“Did anyone in the NFL see the second (elevator) videotape before Monday?”

“No,”  Goodell replied.  “No one in the NFL, to my knowledge, and I’ve been asked that same question and the answer to that is no.  We were not granted that (video). We were told that was not something we could have access to. On multiple occasions we asked for it and on  multiple occasions we were told no.”

That’s pretty plain.

This is the guy who makes about $44 million a year to guide this most-American game and the hyped-up he-men who play it.

If Goodell lied about them not seeing the elevator video until it became public, that would be one of the most boneheaded plays ever. And he should be fired for it immediately.  If not, it’s time to move on.

Can we really expect the NFL to now somehow lead a meaningful charge on this nation’s pervasive domestic violence problem – a problem that was born long before O.J. Simpson and pro football?

There’s Janay Rice, smarting from that elevator punch and her husband’s loss of millions of dollars, pleading for relief  from the public and its armchair psychoanalysis.

And here in our own town, we have women in cemeteries who were beaten again and again by their husbands. Women who go  to the police and plead for protection from the courts who are still killed by the men they loved.

Do you really think Roger Goodell and the NFL are going to fix that?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mark would love to hear your take. Click here to email the CBS 6 Newsroom.



  • Bonnie Oswald

    I am thoroughly disgusted that the Ravens & NFL & THE MEDIA are crucifying a man & wife that obviously need (as well as the rest of the Sports World) counseling & anger management training – League wide!! To take away his career is taking away his Pride, Ego, & will only lead to further problems!!

    For a League so concerned about concussions they need to take a GOOD, HARD look at themselves & take the LARGEST AMOUNT OF THE BLAME THEMSELVES! For the Ravens to fire him & the NFL to suspend him makes me VERY DISAPPOINTED IN my team & very disgusted with the Sports World in General!

    And for the Media to run & rerun that video only inflames the public, most of whom have very little knowledge about Domestic Violence or else THEY SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH IT….. Give Ray back his job with TEAM-WIDE counseling & anger management….. LEAGUE-WIDE….. They are VICTIMS, you HELP VICTIMS NOT CRUCIFY THEM!!!!

    Bonnie Oswald
    Charlotte Court House, VA
    Sent from my iPad
    Smile, Jesus And I Both Love You. But He Will Always Love You So Much More, Because You Are His Beautiful Child.

  • Unknown

    Well, if people stopped paying attention to these idiots, one wouldn’t find themselves being bombarded with the actions of uneducated brutes.

  • Lisa

    I am smart enough to not bait my husband and start fights with him. He has never laid a hand on me, and I have never given him a reason to.

    • Robbie

      Don’t know how to take your post! Are you defending Ray Rice? Let me say that what he did was very wrong and what she did to provoke him was also wrong. Yes she appeared to be the instigator but she did not deserve what she got. Domestic abuse has to stop and Ray Rice is the players wake up call.

    • Ricky Tomkins

      Over hyped ….. really? Perhaps if Ray Rice would cold cock you a few of your brain cells would awake. Unless on a battlefield, it is never acceptable for any man to punch out a woman, especially an NFL pro athlete. Apparently your parents didn’t bring you up to be an decent and honorable man.

  • Robo

    As Mark mentions this goes on a lesser scale everyday. No one makes the Pros being a nice guy. They need to be mean, nasty, aggressive.
    That said, one can expect the players to differentiate between the NFL and day to day living. What is the issue here is the absolute lying that has gone on. From Mr. Rice to Mrs. Rice to the Commissioner and the Ravens. Mr. Rice should be allowed to return to football in a year given treatment which should include anger management. Of course if he knocks back a bunch of alcohol that is not going to help. The NFL is a powerful organization with a lot of money. It would be a strong statement and socially responsible if they were to take a hard line on domestic violence. They need not crucify the players that do this but they should take a hard stance and help the players and their partners get the help that they need.

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