Janey Palmer and the man she loves- Ray Rice.
By Alice Cook
Like so many victims of domestic abuse, Janey Palmer Rice is letting it go. The arguments. The anger. The punch in the face for all the world to see. She loves her man, or so she said on Tuesday. And I ask myself if I could ever say the same. I guess you never know until you’ve been there. And thank God, I have not.
There is so much I want to say about this sad and disturbing story. I tried to craft the words in my head for three days. Here I am a sports reporter, a wife, and a mother of 3 kids. You would think my thoughts and opinions would come easily – but they haven’t.
Ray Rice threw a left cross at Janey Palmer’s face in an elevator in Atlantic City. One month later she married him. Soon after that she sat in a news conference next to Ray Rice with anger, not forgiveness, on her face. The pictures told the story for me that day.
Roger Goodell admitted he blew it with his first decision to suspend Ray Rice for 2 games. There was such uproar you could hear it from Maine to California. What the NFL failed to take into consideration is that almost half of their fan base is women. The fallout from that spineless decision had huge ramifications for this most precious demographic. You see, the men watch the games. The women buy the sponsor’s products – and they watch the games.
Feeling the media and public backlash, Goodell reluctantly came to his senses and announced the league’s new policy on domestic violence. First time offenders get 6 games with no pay. Second time offenders could be done for good.
Let me say right here, there is no game I like better than NFL football. As a reporter for so many years, I was never allowed to cheer in the press box. I have never been one for keeping my mouth shut, but in this professional atmosphere I had no choice.
One of my most memorable locker room moments came after a routine Patriots practice. Rodney Harrison was a Thursday guy and we could always get Rodney at his locker that day. Earlier that week, Harrison had literally tackled my TV colleague Steve Burton while he did an on-camera stand up on the Foxboro sidelines. Steve, who played quarterback at Northwestern and is twice the size of Doug Flutie, got up in suit and tie and just laughed. It was a really good TV moment.
That next day, after Thursday practice, with reporters swarming his locker, I jokingly asked Harrison if he would give me the same sideline treatment when I did my next on-field stand-up. Harrison, one of the NFL’s most vicious and penalized hitters, gave me a soft smile and me looked me right in the eye, and responded, “I don’t hit women.” I’ve thought about Rodney’s words a lot these past few days.
Janey Palmer and Ray Rice might have a baby girl, and might even have more kids one day. And like most things on the internet, this video will still be around for their children to see.
What would they think of daddy punching mommy out cold in an elevator?
Roger Goodell is hoping the public forgets about this bleak chapter in his NFL reign long before that ever happens.