Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Caught On Tape

Ray Rice is one of the luckiest people on Earth right now.

Huh? Yeah. The former Baltimore Ravens running back is lucky - very, very lucky. How so? He's lucky that he didn't kill his then-fiance, now-wife Janay when he knocked her out in an elevator in Atlantic City.

If you write about sports every day, like TigerBlog does, then you can't really start anywhere else today than with Ray Rice.

You have to want to say what you're thinking about this whole situation, and to TigerBlog, this is what he's thinking: Ray Rice got what he deserved, but nobody really comes out of this looking very good.

The NFL? If the league had been interested in doing what was right, it would have banned him nearly immediately after the first video was released. If you didn't see the two videos - the one where Rice drags his now-wife Janay out of the elevator and the one where he knocks her out in the elevator that came out yesterday - then go find them or simply take TB's word for it.

They're reprehensible. They're worse than that actually.

They're scary.

As TB said, Rice deserved to be released by the Ravens, and he has no one to blame but himself for the fact that he's suspended indefinitely. Does TigerBlog think he'll get another chance in the NFL? Yes. If a team thinks he can help. After all, there are players who killed people and still got another chance in the NFL.

And Rice's case did lead to a revamping of the league's rules dealing with domestic abuse, making them much stricter. But why?

Because Rice's original penalty was a two-game suspension. Did the NFL change the penalties because it was the right thing to do or because of the backlash of the way Rice got off easy - and how Josh Gordon of the Browns was suspended an entire season for smoking pot?

Oh, and the two-game suspension came after the first videotape surfaced. Two games? Remember, this was after the NFL saw the first video.

The NFL claimed it had not seen the video from the inside of the elevator until yesterday. This begs a few questions: 1) is that really true and 2) how did TMZ come up with it but the NFL couldn't.

But even beyond that, what did Roger Goodell think happened in the elevator. TigerBlog didn't need to see the video inside the elevator to figure out that Rice had to have hit her really hard. After all, she was out - almost lifeless - when the video outside the elevator starts. How did she get that way?

As Dustin Hoffman said in "All the President's Men," "if you go to bed and there's no snow and you wake up and there's snow on the ground, you can conclude it snowed."

And if you want to really be skeeved out by something here, try the Ravens and their Ray-Rice-Rehab PR efforts after the first video and before the second. Included in this: 1) a tweet saying that Janay had apologized for her role in this, 2) a reference to how much the Ravens' fans love Ray Rice and 3) a story on the team's official website from a team VP about "how much I like Ray Rice."

Who thought any of this was a good idea?

So the axe fell on Rice yesterday. TB wonders if it would have had he averaged 5.1 yards per carry last year, instead of 3.1 He wonders if he'd be suspended had the league not had a PR nightmare after its first weak suspension.

And then there's the owner of the Hawks, who announced he'd be selling his controlling interest in the team after it came out that he had made some comments about the team's desire to attract more white fans than black fans.

When the whole Donald Sterling story broke, TigerBlog wrote this:
TigerBlog wonders how many of the people who jumped all over Sterling did so in a "look at how offended I am by this; doesn't this make me enlightened" way would want all of their private conversations to suddenly become public, to have everything that they've said that they thought no one would ever hear be everywhere.
Is it possible that Donald Sterling is the only NBA owner or pro sports owner who ever privately said anything that would destroy his/her career? TB can't believe that's the case. How can it be, with primarily white billionaires who employ primarily black multimillionaires. TB can't begin to image what these billionaires have said in private.

And that's sort of what happened. But not really.

TigerBlog doesn't think the comments the Hawks owner (TB is too lazy to look up his name right now) were racist. He thinks they were racial, and any racial comments put the commentator in a minefield. These comments were more business than anything else, and they were offensive in the way that it showed that every single person was viewed solely for their dollar value. But hey, it's business.

Yesterday was freshman student-athlete orientation at Princeton. It's another hour of orientation for the incoming freshmen in a week of orientations. Today is new employee orientation.

TigerBlog didn't have a speaking role yesterday. He does this morning.

What he will tell the new employees is the same thing he would have told the freshmen athletes, and that is to understand that the times in which they live and now find themselves on this campus under the umbrella of Princeton Athletics are ones where everything should be assumed to be recorded, videotaped and available to show up anywhere at any time.

There's no way to get away from it. And they need to understand the possible ramifications.

Ray Rice couldn't talk his way out of what appears on the video. There's not one thing he could possibly say. Judge. Jury. Done. There is no defense.

The last thing you want to be is in the position of having to face the music with an unforgiving video or audiotape. That's it these days. There's no way around it.

The solution is to make good decisions at all times, and then there's nothing to worry about.

Otherwise, there's plenty to worry about. It's just how the world is these days.

Everything is public - and permanent.

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