2 games. 1/8th of a single season. That’s the going rate for knocking your fiancée out cold, on camera, during the NFL offseason. That’s what a woman is worth to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the Baltimore Ravens football team, and the rest of the NFL machine in 2014 — 2 games. Roger Goodell’s decision this week to hand Ravens running back Ray Rice a meager 2 game suspension for knocking his fiancée unconscious is patently ludicrous and an affront to women on its own, but the audacity of the pithy ban becomes magnified when compared to other recent suspensions, such as the troubled Josh Gordon’s 1 year ban for repeated substance issues and multiple speeding infractions. Maybe if Gordon, another star offensive player in the AFC, had decided to physically assault a woman he supposedly loves and wishes to spend the rest of his life with, instead of possessing weed, his punishment could have been lessened.
The 2 games Ray Rice will miss at the start of the 2014 season is yet another reason I am happy that I gave up the NFL for good before the 2013 season. I initially made this decision for non-domestic-abuse-player reasons, reasons chiefly surrounding a growing abundance of commercials making the games unwatchable on TV, games that go on for an eternity, and a systemic and blatant disregard for the safety of its players, but this Ray Rice issue is another log onto the fire. I am happy that I gave up the NFL for good and that my two young daughters will be less likely to become fans of a sport that continues to view their bodies as scantily clad pieces of meat on the sideline and during countless beer commercials during countless commercial breaks, and as useless punching bags in casino elevators.
The world is not perfect, men and women both make poor decisions and hurt each other repeatedly and I do not wish to shield my children entirely from the realities of the world in which they are growing up and moving out into, but I can not sit on the sidelines as the NFL, a beloved American institution, tosses women aside by handing out near-meaningless suspensions and fines. Ray Rice’s fiancée got knocked out in Atlantic City in February, but the punches to all women keep coming from the top of the NFL tower.