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Is Ray Rice’s Punishment Too Harsh?

Ray Rice’s wife, Janay Rice, was physically assaulted in an elevator. In the shocking video, Rice punches Janay in the face and knocks her out cold. The case has since become a political football, with some calling for Rice to never play football again.

In this video, one of the most prominent Black public intellectuals and activist  Dr. Boyce Watkins asked me to share my legal thoughts on this issue, how Ray Rice’s actions and punishment fit in with similar cases like University of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, and what should be the ultimate take away for both Ray Rice and Black men in general.

We also discuss the fact that there are others who say that Janay’s opinions should be considered as well.  She says that the incident has caused untold harm upon her family, and that her husband deserves the right to make a living. She also says that the media has “ruined her life,” by not hearing her side of the story.  But she’s a victim of abuse. Does that mean we are protecting her or disrespecting her by minimizing her perspective on the situation? Dr. Watkins and I also discuss the reality that oftentimes it seems there is a blurring of the lines between legality and morality.

As I state in the video,  I believe that the punishment does fit the crime.  However, I do believe that Ray Rice will get an opportunity to play again in the NFL after sitting out at least a year, but most likely two years.  After all, there are individuals playing or were allowed to play after killing people, e.g. Donta Stallworth, Leonard Little, etc.

As usual when Dr. Watkins and I talk, we deliberately throw political correctness out the window and seek what we should all be looking for: Truth and justice.  I hope you enjoy the discussion. Peace!