NFL's lenient punishment of Ray Rice alienates female fans

The punishment the NFL has given Ray Rice is far too lenient and sends a bad public relations message.

On February 15, 2014, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulted his then-fianc鬬 (now wife) at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Although Ray Rice was indicted in March, he was able to avoid jail time due to being a first-time offender.

Following much speculation over what punishment the NFL would dish out, many were extremely angered once his punishment was finally announced. To the shock and awe of many, Ray Rice was only suspended for two games. I was shocked at this lack of punishment as well. It does not make any sense to potentially suspend a player a full year for smoking some pot but only give an abuser a two-game suspension.

The NFL, and specifically commissioner Roger Goodell, needs to reconsider its decision. In a time where the NFL is seeking to increase their female fan base, they should have made an example of Rice to show fans that this type of behavior is disgusting and will not be tolerated. Instead, all they have shown is that in their eyes recreational drugs are less tolerable than assault.

According to an August 4th, 2014 sportsgrid.com article, the NFL did not even view the video of Rice dragging his fiancé out of the casino hotel after beating her unconscious. When I see this lack of diligence in the NFL, I become sick to my stomach. My father taught me from a young age only the vilest of men put their hands on a woman.

The worst part of this whole situation is that only Rice seems to be apologetic. He has given to public apologies to the media describing his remorse over his own actions, apologizing to both his wife and his two-year-old daughter for what he has done. It is going to take time for people to forgive Rice, but at least he is headed in the right direction.

What the NFL does not seem to mind was that with this lackluster punishment they have insulted approximately 45% of its fan base.  Over the years the NFL has worked tirelessly to make football more appealing to women. The NFL has tried to reach out to women through its Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, attempts to make stadiums more family-friendly and attempting to implement better safety precautions for players. With all of these attempts to make the NFL more appealing to women, it just does not make any sense that they would not take Rice’s punishment more seriously. An August 4th, 2014, CNN.com opinions column argued that the action taken in the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal compared to the Rice’s domestic abuse scandal is essentially showing that the NFL cares more about dogs than women.

While I am sure the NFL believes the punishment they handed out to Rice is acceptable, myself and many other fans believe that it is simply not the case. The NFL needs to seriously reconsider their actions, or the female fans that already feel slightly disconnected will feel completely isolated.