Friday, September 12, 2014

Why Silence Is Also A Crime

One of the biggest headlines this week circled around Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice and a video that recently surfaced documenting him physically abusing his wife Janay Rice. On Monday, TMZ released elevator footage from Revel Atlantic City in February earlier this year that shows Rice assaulting his then-fiancee, rendering her unresponsive, then attempting to drag her out of the elevator. Prior to the video surfacing, the National Football League only sentenced Rice to a two game suspension but has since suspended him indefinitely from the league. 

The public also hasn't taken too kindly to this recent discovery. This week alone Rice has been eliminated from his high school's hall of fame, removed from videos shown during Rutgers University football games, taken out of the upcoming NFL Madden video game by EA Sports, and sparked a powerful Twitter discussion under the tag #WhyIStayed. Baltimore Ravens owner has also written a letter to publicly apologize and the team is offering an exchange for Ray Rice jerseys. 

While it may sound like justice was served, a source revealed to the Associated Press that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, had knowledge of the video back in April, despite denying that he had any access to the footage. While no significant progress has been made just yet, the Commissioner is now under fire and facing plenty of public scrutiny. However, it never had to get to this point. 

Public scrutiny is a result of public relations failure. What Goodell needed, in addition to some much needed empathy, was transparency. Had he been open, honest, and apologetic from the beginning, he, and the NFL by extension, would have never faced such heavy public criticism. Only time will tell if Goodell will also be punished for the crimes he has committed in these events as well. 

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