My first thought upon watching the stunning video of Ray Rice clobbering his fiance in the elevator had to do with Jack Dempsey’s comment before his Independence Day 1919 heavyweight championship fight in Toledo, Ohio against 245-lb behemoth and Kansas farmer Jess Willard: “This guy is liable to kill me. I’m twenty-four years old and I might get killed.”
Ray Rice, he of the massive biceps and low center of gravity, could’ve instilled the same fear in his fiance: “This guy is liable to kill me.” And Rice should’ve known, before he landed the blow, that his hand had the capacity to kill; his indifference to that risk jumps out at the viewer of the video.
But his conduct after the blow is almost as reprehensible. I can only guess that some men, upon striking an alleged loved one, in the heat of passion, might immediately regret the act, and run to the aid of the stricken female. Rice’s continued indifference is obvious and palpable on the video. He just stood there, staring. He dragged “the body” out of the elevator. Then stared. Then decided to move its two legs closer together. No tears. No beseeching, apparently, passersby or others to help, or to get help. He just stood there, and did nothing, while his fiance was stretched out, motionless. She could have been dead, for all Rice appeared to have known or cared. We have seen a window into Ray Rice’s black, entirely indifferent soul.
The video perhaps gives more context to the fiance’s “regret” allegedly expressed to Roger Goodell, as a part of her (apparently) successful attempt to persuade Goodell to be lenient on her fiance. Well, if you were that tiny fiance, might you now be terrified of what Rice would do to you if you didn’t join in his effort to get leniency from the commissioner?
Finally, I find the timing of Roger Goodell’s announcement of a new domestic violence policy at least a tad interesting. He’d been hammered repeatedly in the press for his inept handling of the Rice issue, up until his announcement of the new policy on August 28, only 10 days before the new video surfaced; might that new policy have been issued only because Goodell’s people had some information that TMZ was going to leak the “elevator-interior” video?
Goodell has made a huge problem even bigger. This now-viral video languishes out there, suggesting to millions of young men that this kind of abuse of females warrants only a tiny slap on the wrist. But Goodell has shot his wad, and is left with few new options. He needs to pressure the Ravens to utilize their own team rules to suspend Rice for the remaining portion of the season.