The suspension of Ray Rice has become official, which means that more statements will be issued from folks directly affected by the outcome.
“We appreciate the thorough process the league office used to evaluate the incident with Ray Rice,” Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome said in a statement issued by the team. “The time the Commissioner spent with Ray and Janay is typical of the extra steps the NFL takes when making decisions regarding discipline issues. While not having Ray for the first two games is significant to our team, we respect the league’s decision and believe it is fair.
“We also respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be. That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect. We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.”
Rice stopped short of calling the suspension “fair,” which possibly means he’ll exercise his right to an appeal. He nevertheless continues to accept responsibility for his behavior.
“It is disappointing that I will not be with my teammates for the first two games of the season, but that’s my fault,” Rice said in a statement issued by the team (which is the paper equivalent of a press conference with no questions allowed from the press, which Rice did in May). “As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But, Janay and I have learned from this. We have become better as a couple and as parents. I am better because of everything we have experienced since that night. The counseling has helped tremendously.
“My goal is to earn back the trust of the people, especially the children, I let down because of this incident. I am a role model and I take that responsibility seriously. My actions going forward will show that.”
Neither statement addresses the broader issue of domestic violence, and neither the Ravens nor Rice have said or done anything use this incident as a way to help reduce situations where men strike their wives, fianceés, girlfriends, or any other people (male or female) they regularly encounter in their day-to-day lives.
Maybe the $705,000 that the Ravens won’t be paying to Rice should be donated to one or more groups that support the victims of domestic violence, and maybe Rice should match the amount of his financial penalty with an equal donation. Some would call the gesture transparent or hollow, but it would have far more tangible impact than generating a page of quotes that avoid acknowledging what happened — Rice threw a punch at the woman he supposedly loves, and he knocked her out cold.