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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shake or Bake?

Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice was suspended for the first two games of the 2014 NFL season by Commissioner Roger Goodell for violation of the league's Personal Conduct Policy. Earlier this year, Rice was seen on video at an Atlantic City hotel dragging his fiancée (to whom he is now married) by her hair from an elevator after knocking her unconscious. In contrast, Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns was recently suspended for a year for a repeat offense for the league's substance abuse policy after recently testing positive of marijuana. The NFL's has its crimes and punishments out of whack.

Unless they were planning an extreme sports honeymoon, I don't think Ray Rice wife thought she was signing up for the WWE treatment caught on the video above. 1

I understand that application of the Personal Conduct Policy is ultimately at the discretion of the Commissioner while the Substance Abuse Policy is written out as part of the players' collective bargaining agreement with the league. But to ding Rice for two games for cracking his lady upside the head and knocking her out like Bones Jones and to throw the book at Gordon for doing something that is legal in two states and a slap-on-the-wrist or less elsewhere seems out of alignment to me.

I'll keep this rant short, because I think it warrants little explanation. Gordon did something that's completely legal in two states, partially legal in about a dozen, decriminalized in about half, and less serious than a DUI or driving on a suspended license, in most states, if you get caught. Ray Rice could have easily done time on his first offense for knocking her out, potentially a felony. The NFL is out of whack with the rest of the country on that one. The message sent by this set of incidents is the wrong one.
Josh Gordon wears his intention to bake on his sleeve (and his back), unlike Mr. Rice, who wore Mrs. Rice's grill on the back of his hand. 2

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