Updated Sep 21, 2014: According to ESPN, over 7,000 fans turned out to exchange their Ray Rice jerseys for those of other Ravens players during a two-day event in Baltimore.

 

Originally Published on Sep 9, 2014: Getting something right rarely feels so disappointing and dissatisfying.

 

Ray Rice’s release from the Ravens and subsequent suspension from the NFL is the just and necessary outcome, but we should have arrived at this point long ago.

 

In truth, it is a sad irony that the NFL felt that it needed to see the video from inside the elevator in order to see what should have been so obvious to the rest of us all along.

 

 

 

 

The excruciating, graphic and disturbing nature of the video is a shocking reminder of how blind the NFL and the mainstream media have been to the severity of domestic violence in general and to this case in particular.

 

Oddly, there has been a continued lack of conviction from the NFL and the Ravens in condemning Rice’s actions, as well as a sustained sloppiness in the media’s reporting of the story. This is a systemic failure on multiple levels, much of it due to a refusal to probe Rice about his actions or to establish an unambiguous intolerance for them.

 

As a result, this whole ordeal has been shrouded in mystery and misinformation, so much so that until today neither the NFL nor the media could confirm whether the league had viewed the footage before announcing the two game suspension for Rice back in August.

 

As we celebrate the return of the NFL, we also need to embrace the new responsibilities associated with conscientious fandom. It is no longer acceptable to unconditionally cheer for our teams — Just think how you would feel if you were among those Ravens fans who gave Rice a standing ovation as he strode on to the field for the first time at pre-season training camp. We should be demanding more of ourselves as fans, and we should make sure we are demanding answers and accountability from our sports organizations.

 

Ironically, the players themselves have provided us with some of the most thoughtful and noble reactions in the wake of recent off-field issues. They were a powerful force in expediting the ousting of Donald Sterling and have added some much-needed humanity in expressing their outrage upon seeing the video.

 

The burgeoning NFL concussion crisis has already altered how we watch and digest the game. It’s taken a few decades, but we now understand the consequences of on-field violence.

 

We’ve also seen the danger of ignoring the warning signs and being behind the curve in changing our ways. We were slow, once again, in getting things right in the Ray Rice aftermath. Let’s make the most of our second chance.

 

What is your reaction to Ray Rice’s suspension from the NFL and release from the Baltimore Ravens? Feel free to comment below or reach out to me @endbadly.