ESPN’s Steve Young criticised the NFL for its inconsistent handling of Ray Rice and other domestic abuse cases on Monday Night Football’s pregame show.
Young said that the NFL needs to immediately suspend players for domestic violence, and criticised the league for being “backed into” suspending Rice indefinitely after TMZ released the video of him knocking his fiancee unconscious. He cited 49ers defensive tackle Ray MacDonald, who played in Week 1 after getting arrested on felony domestic violence charges on August 31, as an example of the league’s hypocrisy on this issue.
“We can’t be backed into it with a video,” he said. “You have to have no tolerance on it and mean it.”
Young’s response foregrounds an uncomfortable truth: Ray Rice would likely still be on the Ravens today if TMZ never published the elevator video.
Here’s his response (video below):
“Fundamentally, if the league is going to have a no-tolerance policy for domestic abuse, if we’re going to be an organisation that has this as a perspective, we have to back it up. We can’t be backed into it with a video, with more coming out. We have to make an affirmative stand on it. I saw what we did with the policy a couple of weeks ago, but then Ray MacDonald gets arrested. And has physical bruising on his wife and felony domestic violence. Any company in this country, any big company, if that happens they send you home. They might pay you. But you don’t come to work until we figure this out. (…)
“You can see how this can get where you need to take an affirmative position on it. You have to have no tolerance on it and mean it. If it’s a fraudulent assertion, then they will work it out over a few days and weeks and you’ll miss a couple of games. OK. We’ve got to have a policy where, if you get arrested for this, we’ll call you when we figure it out. But we’re going to call you from home. It just has to be that way or you’re not serious about it. I understand due process. That goes on. Every owner has advocated in many ways the ability to discipline players to the commissioner, and I think in many ways you saw the team unilaterally work this today. The Baltimore Ravens decided something. Every owner can decide this for themselves.”
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