The first video shows the after.
We see what the cameras outside the elevator saw, when Ray Rice dragged his fiancee – now wife – Janay Palmer out of that metal box. She was as unconscious as anyone can be, not looking like she was merely knocked out but walloped by an elephant tranquilizer. If you’d have told me she was dead, I would have believed you. Rice doesn’t look panicked. In fact, he hardly looks concerned. He sort of prods her and tries to get her to magically snap out of it, looking more like he’s worried about himself – could he see the next few months unfolding in those few moments? – than he is about her.
The first video is a lot of things – scandalous, damning, and disgusting – but it’s also obvious, because it doesn’t take Matthew McConaughey’s character from True Detective to deduce what happened only a few seconds earlier.
Were you really thinking Rice just accidentally popped her? Did you think she was all coming at him and he was just trying to defend himself, and he somehow pushed her over or something and she slipped and knocked herself unconscious?
How could you watch that first video and think what occurred was anything less than what we now know happened? We should all be outraged today – because the video now published on TMZ, which shows Rice delivering a vicious haymaker to the side of his wife’s head, shooting her sideways and then down, out cold, is sickening and infuriating – but how can we be surprised?
You already knew what happened. We all did. Some of us were just denying it, or afraid to assume.
And yes, we were all pissed off Rice only got two games, maybe even more pissed off that he had backers and supporters, evidenced by the standing ovation he received at his first post-incident, on-field workout with his Baltimore Ravens – as if he was the victim overcoming a witch-hunting NFL, when in fact they were both obviously involved in combing over the same crime, or at least the fallout from a lack of action (in the league’s case).
It’s understandable to watch the footage now and become an activist. But we should have all been this pissed off all along. The Baltimore Ravens should have cut him then, not now when the wagons were circling. The NFL clearly either saw this video and covered it up, or they didn’t see it and they didn’t ask any of the right questions, in anything close to the right way. Ray Rice was apparently present when Roger Goodell was interviewing Janay about the incident – because The Rog not only thinks that he is an adequate female abuse counsellor, but he also thinks the husband (who’s also the assaulter) should be present.
Enter Roger Goodell: The Almighty, The Only, The Answer. “Don’t worry, ladies. I’m here. Now tell me what happened while your attacker looks over your shoulder. Go ahead, this is a safe zone.”
What an absolute sham. How can the NFL – how can anyone – claim ignorance when the only other choice is incompetence? Insultingly offensive, dangerous incompetence. And inaction. This was in Roger Goodell’s hands. He acted like he was as much a passenger as we were… as Janay was.
When we saw the first video, we should have asked that Rice either tell us exactly what happened – second by goddamn second – or demanded he got a full-year suspension. At least. But he didn’t tell us what happened, and nobody pressed him on it because it was, honestly, an extremely uncomfortable situation. Rice side-stepped the question every time, as if we had to respect his privacy – like he was Billy Bob Thornton talking to Jian Ghomeshi about his crappy fusion band, pretending he wasn’t already an actor with a career on IMDB.
I know the silence didn’t make Rice look any more innocent to us, but how did it make him look more innocent to the NFL? Because it apprently did, based on the measly two games he got for going all Raging Bull on his wife. Somehow, it worked. Rice got the benefit of every doubt and his wife got a muzzle.
Of course we want the NFL to go back and enforce this shit now. It makes sense. Because, duh.
But I’m not disappointed by what I saw today – it only verified what we already had to have known.
I can be disgusted without being shocked. We all should be. And we all should have been, too.
VIDEO: Adam Schefter rips NFL after Ray Rice video is released