Ray Rice can officially return to the NFL.
A judge ruled on Rice’s appeal of his indefinite suspension Friday, saying the former Baltimore Ravens running back can begin playing again. The suspension was given by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after a video surfaced online showing Rice hitting his then-fiancée, now wife, Janay Rice, in an elevator in February.
Rice was originally given a two-game suspension for the incident. It wasn’t until after the video appeared online — and commissioner Goodell claimed he had never seen it — that a harsher punishment was given for what appeared to be an extremely brutal act of domestic violence. In the video, Ray Rice can be seen dragging Janay’s unconscious body from the elevator after he punched her in the face.
That’s why, while what Ray Rice did is appalling and absolutely worthy of our collective rage, we should be directing it in Goodell’s direction now.
Today’s ruling on Rice’s appeal means the judge, having seen and heard all the evidence, decided Rice was telling the truth about his initial punishment. That means the NFL’s top officials, including Goodell, knew the extent of Rice’s abuse of his wife long before the video made the rounds online. And it means those same officials thought that sitting out two games was an appropriate punishment for punching a woman so hard it knocked her out.
The Ravens have dropped Rice from the team, so whether he returns to the NFL is still uncertain. But through all of this, Goodell has remained NFL commissioner, and that is something we shouldn’t sit back and allow to happen.
Rice’s crimes are terrible, but Goodell is guilty of a crime just as terrible: turning a blind eye and allowing domestic violence to happen with virtually no consequences. The media ousted him this time, but will he do it again? That’s a chance none of us should be willing to take.