The images? Distrubing. It was a smoking gun that no one could deny. But in the end, after the video came out, there was only one course of action that the Baltimore Ravens could take.

Clip Ray Rice’s wings.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no television or cable, you know that Rice was punished by the NFL this year two games for assulting his wife (who was his girlfriend at the time) Janay in an elevator in Atlantic City. The damage has been done. The mule is not just out of the barn, it’s escaped to another pasture.

After the release of the video, courtesy TMZ Sports, the Ravens were backed in a corner and they knew that they had to be pro-active. With that information in front of them, releasing him wasn’t the only thing to do, it was the right thing to do.

Rice missed Sunday’s game with Cincinnati yesterday in Baltimore and the team has a short week this week as they take on Pittsburgh this Thursday night in Charm City. There was no way on God’s Earth they could keep him around any longer. The Ravens were “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” But after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell all but fumbled on the goal line the first time this was reported, the Ravens went into damage control and took care of it in house and didn’t wait.

Minutes later, Goodell announced that, based on the latest video evidence now available, Rice is suspended indefinitely from playing in the league. His two-game suspension for assaulting Janay Palmer was scheduled to end Friday, which meant that Rice could be with his teammates, be at the team’s training facility in Ownings Mills, just outside of Baltimore and could have drawn a paycheck.

The Ravens, meanwhile, had no other comment in its statement announcing Rice’s release, according to ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, The Baltimore Sun and the Associated Press.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy said earlier in the day, regarding the video: “We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”

A Revel spokesperson told ABC News that the hotel gave a copy of the video posted by TMZ Sports to the police. The hotel, which closed September 2, says it did not give it to TMZ.

Rice had three years remaining on his contract at $4 million this season, $3 million next season and $3 million in 2016. The Ravens will not owe Rice any money.

In the NFL’s revamped policy against domestic violence, first-time offenders will be suspended for six games while players will receive a lifetime ban for a second offense.

“I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Rice said in a news conference when the Ravens returned to camp in late July. “I want to own it.”

After drawing heavy criticism, Goodell wrote a letter to NFL owners, saying, “I didn’t get it right.” He also wrote: “My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future reflect our values.”

TMZ’s release of the video Monday spawned reaction that went beyond the sports world but some of the strongest criticism came from Rice’s peers. One of them, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton of the Broncos, tweeted, “As players we must speak up. Stand up for what’s right. I don’t give a damn who u are or how much money you make. No place for this.”

The Ravens had to do something, given the fact that this issue had once again reared its ugly head, like a zit on the face of a teenager just before prom. He is now basically persona non grata. Is his career over? Hard to say. Given the facts, any GM with any hint of common sense should pass on him. He’s become kyrptonite to the football world. Could legal action be taken?

I don’t see why not. After all, this is assualt, plain and simple and the evidence is in front of our eyes. But at the same time, assuming this goes through the legal process, he should be given his day in court.

Ray Rice has been kicked out of what some would call football’s answer to the Garden of Eden. Did he eat from the tree of knowledge? No. He alledgedly hit a woman and given the fact that there are a lot of female football fans, the Ravens didn’t do just the right thing. They did the only thing. Rice will probably wander through the football wilderness, wondering what happened to him. He may come to his senses at home or in a prison cell if the legal system does their thing. Is it time for him to grow up? Maybe he will learn from this, given that another player with talent, Ray Carruth, sits in a North Carolina prison for conspiracy to murder his pregnant girlfriend.

Ray Rice had talent. Ray Rice has a Super Bowl ring. Ray Rice no longer has the support of his team or fans. Ray Rice is now sitting in a hell that he created when he threw the punch seen round the world. The wounds are self-inflicted. He did this to himself.

The Ravens have a short week and prepare for AFC North rival Pittsburgh Thursday night. Let’s hope that the focus is on the action on the field, not the selfish act of one person.

Advertisements