Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The NFL's Hypocrisy

Until the video was released showing Ray Rice landing a left hook to his girl friend's jaw in an elevator he was given a two game suspension. Everyone knew even before seeing the video what happened in the elevator but the NFL evidently thought a two game suspension was a just punishment for an offense that didn't go to court and which the couple apparently resolved between themselves since they subsequently married.

Okay, I guess, but as Charles Gasparino asks at NRO, where is the fairness in Rice's relatively mild punishment when Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito was effectively banished from the league for doing nothing more than talking mean to another teammate, who, like Incognito, is a 300 lb. lineman? Gasparino supplies some background:
Richie Incognito, an All-Pro offensive lineman, was branded a thug, faced countless hours of interrogation by league officials and their lawyers, and now can’t get a job in the NFL because he was found guilty of “bullying” a fellow lineman of equal size and strength.

Ray Rice, an All-Pro running back, was suspended for a mere two games, faced no similar league inquisition, and was heralded by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as a decent guy who made a simple “mistake” when he was caught on video dragging his unconscious fiancĂ©e out of the elevator after what appeared to be a physical altercation.

Welcome to political correctness, Goodell-style.
Incognito is banned from the league for saying mean things. Ray Rice was initially given the NFL equivalent of giving a child a timeout. Does the NFL really think that bullying and name calling are worse than assault and battery? Here's more from Gasparino:
Why did Goodell initially throw his support behind Rice after an obvious physical altercation with a woman but throw the book at Incognito for name-calling a 300-pound fellow lineman?

None of this is to excuse Richie Incognito’s conduct, which led to an unofficial banishment from football that continues to this day. But consider his actions and the response by the NFL. When e-mails and voicemails surfaced indicating that Incognito had, among other alleged improprieties, forced his Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin to attend team meetings at strip clubs, and used the n-word in one conversation with Martin (Incognito is white and Martin black), Goodell immediately launched a league investigation.

He even hired one of the country’s toughest attorneys, superlitigator Ted Wells, to conduct a probe into Incognito’s actions. The so-called Wells report called Incognito the ring leader of a gang of abusers who forced Jonathan Martin to flee the Dolphins mid-season last year through “a pattern of harassment.”

Incognito through a spokesman claimed that his actions and even the inexcusable racial language were more complicated than what the press had reported, saying he and Martin were friends. Martin through a spokeswoman said he played along with some of Incognito’s antics (including strip-club visits) to fit in with his teammates since Martin was a rookie and Incognito a seasoned veteran.

Goodell’s response: a massive report that made Incognito an untouchable in the NFL to this day for “bullying, taunting and constant insults.”

And his response to Ray Rice’s battery: Even after the second video has emerged, Goodell is leaving the door open for Rice’s eventual return to the league.
I'm just wondering here, but could the disparity between the treatment administered to Incognito, who must be something of a lout, and the treatment administered to Rice, who must be something worse, have anything to do with race? Is the NFL (i.e. Roger Goodell) so consumed by political correctness that he's eager to come down harder on a white player who bullies a black player than he is on a black player who bullies his wife? Maybe race has nothing to do with it, but the only other explanation, barring the existence of circumstances not made public about the two cases, is that Goodell is pretty much a capricious simpleton.