COMMENTARY: Ray Rice Got Off Too Easy

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  • Yesterday, our columnist Tonya Pendleton penned her version of the Stephen A. Smith/Ray Rice Controversy. Today, Michael Cottman provides the male point of view. 

    Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith has been roundly criticized for his comments about domestic violence in the case of Ray Rice, the stocky Baltimore Ravens running back who punched his fiancée so hard, she was rendered unconscious. Smith has since apologized. 

    I’m less interested about what Smith thinks about Rice as more concerned about what Rice thinks about himself. What kind of man unleashes a vicious attack on an unsuspecting woman? I don’t know Rice, but I do know that it takes more than a simple apology to sort out domestic violence issues.

    The NFL has punished Rice with a two-game suspension when the season begins in September – and a $500,000 fine, a pittance for a man who signed a $25 million contract.

    The reprimand would be comical if the situation wasn’t so egregious. A two-game suspension in my view doesn’t even begin to address the seriousness of this abuse.

    This punishment does not say to NFL players that the league won’t tolerate domestic violence. It tells me that if players beat up women, they can slide with a slap on the wrist.

    Rice needs counseling, soul-searching and a tougher punishment. He was charged with third-degree aggravated assault after a surveillance camera in an Atlantic City casino caught him dragging his then-fiancée Janay Palmer out of an elevator. Palmer, who is now Rice’s wife, was knocked out.

    Because Rice takes a beating on the field on Sundays, does he feel it’s appropriate to deliver a beating?

    “I failed miserably,” Rice said two months ago. “But I wouldn’t call myself a failure cause I’m working myself back up.”

    And since the incident, Rice has promised that he is “working every day to be a father, a better husband and a better role model.”

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