Reaction to Ray Rice Video May Force NFL’s Hand

When TMZ released the video of Ray Race beating his now wife Janay Rice early Monday morning, those of us who were awake at the time knew full well the firestorm that it would bring when folks woke up a few hours later. 

And that it did. Here are some social media responses to the disturbing video. You can’t tell this one scribe that the league offices in New York City and Roger Goodell himself won’t be paying attention here.

Former NFL linebacker Scott Fujita, who played 11 years in the NFL and against Rice at times, had the hottest take.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is usually reserved with his opinions, instead solely focusing on bringing us the latest news of the day. This wasn’t the case on Monday morning.

Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer, who is known to chum it up with professional athletes at times, took the criticism and potential NFL response one step further.

Former NFL player LeCharles Bentley, who also suited up against Rice, followed Fujita in line with some strong comments of his own.

This reaction is pretty much a common theme right now. Shock and anger bottled up on social media will tend to create like responses. And we really shouldn’t blame Bentley for it.

Some other high-profile individuals took to Twitter to air their thoughts. And the results weren’t much different than what you read above.

The NFL is claiming that this video wasn’t made available during its investigation of the Rice situation. Two things come to mind there.

1. Now that the league has “now” seen it, does this change anything?

2. How in the world can the NFL conclude its investigation knowing a video existed and not being allowed to see said video? That’s not normally how it works. Call me skeptical of this.

NFL players can be released for pretty much any reason. It really is no-fault employment. While the NFLPA does get involved and investigate specific situations (see DeSean Jackson), it’s highly unlikely that DeMaurice Smith and Co. would go out on a limb for Rice after now that this video is public. This is magnified by the fact that Rice accepted responsibility, had his day in court and is on video beating his now wife.

That’s something the Ravens and general manager Ozzie Newsome may have to do at some point in the not-so-distant future. After all, their initial response to the crime was less than stellar.

As it relates to the NFL, we already know it has a PR problem, especially when it comes to its handling of this situation prior to the release of the video. If nothing else, Roger Goodell and Co. may be forced to act because of how much they care about public perception. While it might not be a good overall look from the league, no one would argue with the end result.

Violence against women cannot be tolerated in a league that is violent in nature. That raises a ton of questions about the overall landscape of the league and those who participate in games on Sunday’s. As Fujita indicated, we aren’t talking about Week 1. Instead, this is headlining the new 24-hours news and social media cycle.

And then you have this.

Rice is slated to return against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3. Outside of the reaction he is going to get from fans in Cleveland, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an extra effort from Browns players to physically show him what they think of the guy. That wouldn’t be a good look for the league.

While we are only hours removed from this video being released, initial reactions are an indication that the NFL needs to step up and do something here. Working in unison with the NFLPA, I firmly believe we will hear something from the league office in the coming days. As we should.

Photo: USA Today