On Monday, we explained why the release of Ray Rice by the Baltimore Ravens and his indefinite suspension by the NFL were piss-poor attempts at face-saving after a security video emerged of him punching his then-fiancee and now wife, Janay Palmer, in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City. That's because those moves were exactly what the team and league should've done after the first security video surfaced in February. The second video revealed no new information about the assault. It simply showed exactly what everyone knew had happened just moments before Rice could be seen dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator in the first video.
Later on Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh awkwardly verbalized the actions of the team and the NFL during a grilling by the press, which didn't go well. At one point, Harbaugh said of the second video,
"It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different."
No, it didn't change a goddamn thing. The video simply, albeit dramatically, showed what everyone on this planet knew what happened in that elevator: Ray Rice punched Janay Palmer so hard, he knocked her out cold.
It wasn't that Harbaugh didn't give better answers than the pathetic ones he actually gave; it's that this situation was handled by the team and the league so shittily from the start, that he couldn't give better answers. It was literally impossible. At one point, one reporter pressed Harbaugh by asking the question that should've been first out of the chute: "Why did the video change them team's reaction so drastically? What did you think happened in that elevator before you saw the video?"
"You know, I don't want to get into all that," said Harbaugh. "I mean, talking about feelings and all that kind of stuff. I think it's pretty easy for anybody to understand and anybody that's got a heart to understand how that goes."
Is Harbaugh insinuating there's a difference between domestic violence that's caught on video and domestic violence that's not? Does Harbaugh think, like the Fox & Friends crew does, that the presence camera changes the equation somehow?
It sure sounds like it. It would be really interesting to hear the Ravens front office and Commissioner Roger Goodell explain what they think happened in that elevator before they saw this second video, which by the way, according to TMZ, the NFL never asked to see:
"Sources connected with the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City tell TMZ Sports ... NO ONE from the NFL ever asked for the video inside the elevator ... video that was compelling enough to get Rice instantly fired.
"Sources who worked at the casino at the time of the incident tell us ... if the NFL had asked for the video, they would have gladly complied.
"Without video ... Goodell blindly justified the initial 2-game suspension, based on the only evidence they had -- from the two people in the elevator, who called it mutual combat."
The NFL absolutely should've asked to see any and all video associated with this attack. And in fact, Goodell, like everyone else, had to wonder if, or probably even assume that there was a camera inside the elevator. Yet apparently he wasn't interested in it. Regardless, the first video is enough. That is what punching a woman looks like. So now that the NFL and its teams know, hopefully next time one of its players punches a woman's lights out, they won't need the actual video to see just how horrible domestic violence truly is.
Image credit: ESPN screengrab