You are here:

THE STRANGE CASE OF JOHNNY MANZIEL AND RAY RICE By Mark Hollis

 

mark hollis color pic lrg 460 260I’m perplexed with the strange reaction the National Football League has demonstrated with the domestic violence issues of both Johnny Manziel and Ray Rice. Both cases have been a blemish on the brand of the NFL, but it’s response to the incidents have not been consistent. There have been numerous incidents surrounding Johnny Manziel from excessive partying that has resulted in rehab stays, to breaking his girlfriend’s ear drum in an altercation in 2015. In Dallas, Manziel is under criminal investigation for fighting with his girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, during which he threatened to kill her and himself in a Dallas hotel January of this year. The NFL immediately condemned the violent acts of Manziel, but strangely has not enforced any action relating to the case. He has been released by the Cleveland Browns due to his off-the-field infractions and is anticipating playing for another team this season. In contrast, Ray Rice is still eagerly awaiting a return to the NFL.

Ray Rice had been a marquee player for the Baltimore Ravens organization. He was a three-time Pro Bowl participant during his career and a Super Bowl Champion in 2013. His career appeared to be headed in the right direction until an incident he had with his fiancée, Janay Palmer, now his wife. In February 2014, while on vacation in Atlantic City, Ray Rice’s world came crashing down. Rice and Palmer got into a physical altercation while both were intoxicated. The incident was captured on the hotel surveillance cameras which showed Ray striking Janay and knocking her unconscious. A Grand Jury finding resulted in a third degree aggravated assault charge and a suspension by the NFL. The criminal charges were eventually dropped once Rice completed his court appointed counseling but his career as a player took a different turn. He was suspended by the league for the first two games of the 2014 season by the NFL Commissioner’s office. But upon review, Commissioner Roger Goodell stated that the initial decision to suspend Rice was flawed and should have imposed a longer period. The Ravens severed its ties with him and it resulted in a litigation settlement for wrongful termination. He has not played since the incident.

The action by the National Football League concerning both Johnny Manizel and Ray Rice has been puzzling to me and I am sure to many others who follow the game and the politics of it. Manziel continues on a downward spiral with no intervention thus far from the NFL. Roger Goodell has indicated there is an investigation, but there are no immediate plans to suspend him from the game. Why is that? Unfortunately for Ray Rice, even though he has completed his court ordered counseling and has showed great remorse, he’s confronted with what appears to be a backroom ban by the league. The message to the Commissioner’s Office is simple, why the inconsistency?