Column: Everyone is guilty in the Ray Rice scandal

Anthony Catezone, Managing Editor

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Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is the leading criminal in his recent disgrace. 

Obviously.

Rice punched his then-fiancée, now-wife, Janay Palmer, not once — but twice — in an Atlantic City hotel elevator on Feb. 15, knocking her unconscious, a cowardly act that took, oh, just seven months to receive a punishment that should have been reprimanded immediately.

But Rice is just one spineless individual that leads a long line of criminals through the NFL and into the Atlantic City “justice” system.

Prosecutors Diane Rupert and Jim McLane and Judge Michael Donio are all at fault for either carelessly letting the video fall through the cracks or failing to retrieve it whatsoever, allowing Rice, a man who should be jailed, to walk freely with the possibility of another assault in the future.

Then, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did all but the right thing.

He questioned Palmer in the presence of Rice, whose career possibly hung in the balance, giving her no chance to portray her story.

A spokesman for the New Jersey attorney general said on Tuesday that it would have been illegal to give the NFL a copy of the video, which remains consistent with the statements the NFL has released.

However, the league could have gone to the Atlantic City hotel where the assault took place and requested a copy of the video there, but it did not.

Even then, Goodell should not have needed the brutal truth of the video that was released Monday to warrant an indefinite suspension of Rice.

Other than the truth, what could have possibly happened in that elevator to result in an unconscious Palmer being dragged out by a nonchalant Rice?

But it was Rice’s first offense, Goodell said, two games.

Goodell essentially supported Rice’s actions by electing to not suspend him indefinitely from the beginning.

In come Baltimore team President Richard Cass and General Manager Ozzie Newsome — or not.

Six weeks passed before the video footage inside the elevator surfaced. And six weeks is how long Cass and Newsome sat idly by, as if two games was justifiable.

The day of the suspension, Newsome was quoted by the Ravens’ Twitter account describing the two games as “significant to our team.”

I guess the potentially deadly beating that occurred in the elevator must not have been significant enough to make him think otherwise, or significant enough to traumatize Plamer.

As seen far too much in professional sports, but never to this extent, Cass and Newsome allowed their greed and success to come to the forefront, ahead of an issue that countless women suffer from worldwide. 

Lastly, the fans must also be held accountable to some extent.

Not only the fans of Baltimore that applauded a snarky-faced Rice just four days after the his initial suspension when he received a large ovation from the crowd at an open training camp practice, but also every fan in the NFL, myself included, that supported such a disgusting league by watching a single NFL game this weekend. 

We mindlessly drooled over the same league that attempted to brush this entire tragedy under the rug. And for that, we are guilty.

Our viewership endlessly pumps the ego of the NFL, leading people such as Goodell, Cass and Newsome to believe that the league is truly invincible.

If it took this much for the NFL to finally arrive at a moral conclusion for domestic violence, dare I ask what is next?

Anthony Catezone is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at [email protected]