The five worst opinions in the Ray Rice scandal

Ray Rice runs the ball in practice. (Credit: public domain photo)
Ray Rice runs the ball in practice. (Credit: public domain photo)

There are many voices surrounding the Ray Rice and Janay Rice elevator incident, where former NFL running back Ray Rice punched and knocked out his then fiancee.

Voices range from the victim-blamers, who believe that Janay Rice’s actions (whatever they may have been) merited her being KO’d, to the fake concern trolls, who think that judging two people at one of their lowest moments is going to bring about proper change in the domestic violence discussion.

Let’s go over the controversial voices from across the media, message boards and comment sections:

1. The mansplainer

This is the bro who only sees women as objects and as tools to help men achieve whatever it is they want in life. This guy bro swears up and down that the video released by TMZ is just a piece of what really happened. He’s constantly wondering, “Well, what did Janay do to Ray BEFORE he hit her?”

2. The dumb-ass football ‘fans’

In this category, you’ve got Ravens fans who will find every good thing Ray Rice has done for his community, but refuse to say that what Ray Rice did is inexcusable, merits at least a year-long suspension and that the man needs help — not time on the football field.

Then you have the butt-hurt fans of the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers and any other NFL team that got their ass handed to them by Ray Rice and/or the Ravens. These fans are willing to overlook the rape accusations, domestic violences charges and overall douchebaggery of their favorite football team(s) and player(s) in order to join the bandwagon.

3. The holier-than-thou crowd

These are the people calling for Ray Rice’s head on a stick. These people either want to see Ray Rice go to prison for a long time or see his life completely destroyed, even if it means taking down Janay’s life as well.

I mean, what Ray Rice did was borderline unforgivable, but there seems to be less outrage for ISIL that is actually putting the heads of its victims on sticks and then posting them all over social media.

4. The Janay Rice concern trolls

These are the people who continually say that Janay Rice is acting like “the typical domestic abuse victim.” Therefore they deem it absolutely helpful to judge her and call her an idiot for staying in a relationship she knows more about than they do.

Also, let’s not forget that Janay Rice is the victim here (actually both Ray Rice and his wife are victims, but Janay moreso than Ray). If you’re really concerned about her well-being, you could start by respecting her decisions and possibly offering to pay for her counseling or that of other battered women in your community.

You prying into other people’s private lives acting like you know more about what they should do than the actual couple involved isn’t empathetic — it’s quite the opposite.

5. The media outlets that don’t mention the initial police report

This mistake is the one that is least forgivable. As the media, we are to report the facts and leave speculation for sites like TMZ and the New York Post. Too often, I’ve seen headlines assume facts with no evidence like SB Nation’s, which read, “Ray Rice apologizes for knocking out wife, makes wife apologize too” (a headline that was conveniently changed to something more objective) or allude to Ray Rice having a history of abusive behavior.

Just recently Deadspin jumped on the even-more-infamous Stephen A. Smith with a headline reading “Stephen A. Smith Doesn’t Think the NFL Has A Domestic Violence Problem.”

Deadspin's initial Stephen A. Smith headline, which was changed later.
Deadspin’s initial Stephen A. Smith headline, which was changed later.

Then when a commenter wrote this reply, Deadspin changed its headline to say “Stephen A. Smith Melts Down Over NOW’s Call for Goodell to Resign,”

“It seems the % of NFL players charged with domestic violence is lower than the national average of arrests. If you extrapolate the amount of players listed here (56) into the # of NFL years played in Goodell’s tenure (13,568) using the US population, you would get 1,295,952 arrests for DV. In 2012, there was actually 1,400,000 DV arrests, so the NFL actually doesn’t have any more of a problem than society does. There are FEWER arrests than the national average.

Want to use the NFL as a tipping point to address DV more seriously, I am all for it. But to say the NFL has a “domestic violence problem”, really isn’t accurate.”

Deadspin responded with this,

Deadspin's response to headline change
Deadspin’s response to headline change

Deadspin jumped the gun on this one, not fully thinking things through, but give them credit for changing the headline and acknowledging it… I guess.

Also, if Stephen A. Smith is looking like the smart one in this situation (you remember, the guy the public says was victim-blaming Janay Rice when he ineloquently discussed “provocation”?), you may need to take a step back and reevaluate.

Overall, the media dropped the ball on this issue partly because very few outlets (aside from SB Nation’s timeline of events) even mention the initial police report from Atlantic City in February.

RELATED: Ray Rice arrest: police statement

Ray Rice was wrong in what he did, yes, many can agree on that, but that doesn’t mean the media can absolve its duty in telling the whole story in all of its context just because the public opinion leans to one side (and understandably so).

You’re the media, take a chance on American readers and tell them the whole story, not just what they want to hear. They might not be as dumb as you think.

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