What has Ray Rice incident reminded us? We should be ashamed of ourselves

Kirk Minihane
September 11, 2014 - 9:25 pm

Ray Rice is receiving scorn the public should be heaping on plenty of others. (Getty Images)

We're all frauds.

That's what I've learned this week. Now, anyone who has watched the video of Ray Rice knocking out his now-wife in the elevator is appalled, disgusted, baffled, angry and all the rest of the appropriate emotions. In a perfect world, this a-hole is spending the rest of his life in prison, but this isn't a perfect world.

There is outrage from many, if not most (hello to Paul George, who confirmed his stupidity on Thursday morning) and it's the only reaction one can have. But here's my issue: This is nothing new. In the world of sports, we are surrounded by men who are violent toward women. And all this outrage we've correctly shown the last five days hasn't really existed in other situations.

If Robert Parish showed up at the home opener for the Celtics this season, he would receive a standing ovation to match the reception Rice got when he showed up at training camp this year. It's happened before, the "Chief" chants, the applause, a tribute to a great Celtics player and Hall of Famer. 

Of course, there's the other side to Parish, one that was documented in Stanley H. Teitelbaum's "Sports Heroes, Fallen Idols." Nancy Saad, Parish's ex-wife, details the abuse during the marriage, which includes being hospitalized for seven days with severe head, neck and eye injuries in 1987. Parish, according to Saad in the book, threw her down the stairs of their house and kicked her as she stumbled out the front door. Parish also pushed Saad down a flight of stairs when she was eight months pregnant. 

Did we ever hear any criticism of Parish, or just hero worship? This man is every inch the monster of Ray Rice, and he's considered royalty in these parts. Why? Two reasons: Because he won titles, and there is no video of him pushing his wife down a flight of stairs. 

Here's Parish's take on the 1987 incident in The Boston Globe from 2013:

“Looking back on it, her intent was to provoke me to do something physically and it succeeded. ... But you’re talking about the ’80s and ’90s, good gracious. ... Let it go. We all deserve a second chance.”

OK. Done and done. Does Bobby Cox deserve the same scorn as Ray Rice? He was arrested for domestic violence in May of 1995. His wife told police Cox called her a "bitch" and punched her, continuing a pattern of domestic violence. The police report stated Pamela Cox had "visible swelling and redness" on her face, which police took as proof she had been hit. She later changed her story and said she hadn't been hit, though Cox did admit to police he had hit her earlier in the marriage. If the Braves were 20 games under .500 in May of 1995 Cox is out of a job, but we know how that goes. Now he's in the Hall of Fame and all is forgiven and forgotten in the court of public opinion.

Jason Kidd? We know the story. He was arrested in 2001 for punching his wife in the mouth. The former Joumana Kidd now claims Kidd began beating her before the couple's 1997 marriage. He spent zero days in jail, made over $100 million on the court and will also be a Hall of Famer. Where was the outrage when he was hired to coach in Brooklyn and now Milwaukee?

Floyd Mayweather was fast to defend Rice -- and there's a pretty good reason why. In 2002 he was charged with two counts of domestic violence, and in 2012 he served two months in jail for domestic battery against his former girlfriend, Josie Harris. The police report states that Mayweather grabbed Harris by the hair and punched her in the back of the head with a closed fist several times -- giving her a concussion -- before pulling her by her hair off the couch and twisting her left arm. 

This weekend, Mayweather will make north of $30 million to fight Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas. He's celebrated in print, on TV (full disclosure: There are advertisements for the the Mayweather-Maidana fight running on WEEI), and you can sign up to play against him in fantasy football. Do we care that he has a decade-plus history of beating women? Sure doesn't look like it. At least no one seemed to mind when he participated in Season 5 of "Dancing with the Stars."

Think about it -- that's essentially Ray Rice out on the dance floor. 

And I'm as big a fraud as everyone else, guilty as charged. We had Mike Tyson -- convicted rapist and accused of other violence against women -- on the show one morning and I laughed at his act, didn't ask one tough question, embraced the wackiness that Tyson has sold in his second act. Shame on me, and I'm not alone -- the presence of a convicted rapist sure didn't hurt the "Hangover" franchise. The three films grossed a combined $1.4 billion worldwide.

Allen Iverson -- gun in hand -- throws his naked wife out of their house in 2002. Twelve years later his number is retired. Corey Dillon. Brandon Marshall. Terrell Suggs. Chad Johnson. In 2010, Will Smith was arrested for dragging his wife down the street by her hair -- four years later he was signed by the Patriots. There are dozens more, of course, and we'll stay away from the music world for now. 

And we just don't give these guys a pass, we forget about those who enabled the violence. If Roger Goodell loses his job over this, no problem. He bungled this affair from top to bottom at best. But guess what happens when Goodell loses his job? The masses move on to the next story, and who breathes a sigh of relief? The judges and police in Atlantic City, who saw this tape, these images, and decided Rice should spend no time in jail. 

This happens all the time -- did any judge who let Jared Remy walk out of court face any criticism or punishment? How about the DA, Marian Ryan? She was just re-elected by 20 points. No one lost his or her job, no new laws written. Nothing has changed. This, sadly, is exactly how it works. 

Talking tough and caring about the issue of the day is terrific, it really is. Ray Rice is scum. Here's hoping he never plays a down of football again (and he won't -- no one will sign him if he's ever reinstated. If he were still great, I think he ends up somewhere. Easy to take the moral high ground when you're staring at a 3.1 YPC). But I'm having a hard time taking the majority of folks seriously on this issue when there has been so much apathy in the past.

Here's hoping this horrible week will start to change all that. But the general public, to date, have been frauds when it comes to really caring about violence against women. If you disagree, feel free to watch Season 5 of "Dancing with the Stars" or "The Hangover Part II."

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