Former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels on what this experience means for the league, the players and the movement to prevent domestic violence
By Sage Rosenfels
1. I think whatever Ray Rice said to the Ravens and/or the NFL doesn’t matter. Everyone knows there is a video in the elevator of a casino. In any good investigation you do everything you can to find evidence to back up or contradict the stories by those interviewed. It seems as if that didn’t occur. Almost every team I was on (five) in my NFL career employed ex-police officers as their security detail, in part because of their understanding of the legal system, in part because they are trained to protect people … and in big part because they are connected with local and state police to get things done. I’ve seen it. The tape could have, and should have, been unearthed.
2. I think I am wondering where the NFL Players Association has been. A player has been released and suspended indefinitely, yet he was not convicted and entered a pre-trial diversion program. Guilty or innocent, everyone deserves representation and due process in this country, and Ray Rice pays for representation by the union and its lawyers. Where is it?
3. I think I’ll always wonder what would have happened in this case if Goodell had handed down a six- or eight-or 10-game suspension in the first place. Everyone screamed when the ban came down, because two games was obviously too light. If he had given Rice eight games and this tape surfaced, the outcry would have been far less.
4. I think I have a newfound appreciation for what my mom, sisters and two daughters go through, and will continue to go through, as women in this world. Women are usually smaller than men physically, and I will never know what it feels like to be vulnerable every day like they are.
5. I think I am not as shocked as everyone else at the most recent video, released by TMZ Monday. The first one we saw had Rice dragging an unconscious woman out of an elevator and laying her down in a hallway with her feet still in the elevator. The initial story was that Rice and his fiancée had gotten into an altercation in the elevator, and he punched her and knocked her out. The second video shows Rice punching her and knocking her out, then dragging the unconscious woman out of the elevator and laying her down in a hallway with her feet still in the elevator. Where’s the shock? It’s terrible to watch. I don’t ever want to watch it again. But I wasn’t shocked. It’s just as I had imagined. Domestic abuse is a terrible crime.
6. I think I am glad coach John Harbaugh came out strong in his commitment to Ray and Janay Rice with regards to supporting them in their marriage. However you view the video, Ray Rice, or Janay’s decision to stay with him, they have decided to stay together and be a family with their daughter. That is their decision, and I commend Harbaugh for being there for the Rice family, not just Ray Rice the football player.
7. I think if Roger Goodell made $44 million through salary and bonuses in 2013, as has been reported, the CBA deal he did with the players is extremely owner-friendly. I’m guessing the base salary is a fraction of the total amount, and the rest is bonuses. If this is the case, big bonuses mean big dividends for the league. Which means the owners are killing it. Really, the title of “Commissioner of the National Football League” should be changed to “President of the NFL Owners Association.”
8. I think Goodell will instruct his office to work hard to try to change people’s view of the league’s position on domestic violence. I expect them to donate money to charities helping battered women. I hope this occurs. But after all that's gone on, it feels disingenuous to me.
9. I think I disagree with Adam Schefter’s point from Monday Night Football. Though it is more vivid in my mind, a video of a crime should not increase the punishment of that crime. Guilty is guilty, whether there is a video or not. Punishment should be the same.
10. I think I hope people remember Ray Rice for something better than this one day.
Rosenfels (@SageRosenfels18), who retired in 2012 after playing quarterback with Washington, Miami, Minnesota, Houston and the Giants, co-founded the website FootballByFootball.com with former NFL linebacker Matt Chatham. The site has former players analyzing football.