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12
sep
2014
Friday Morning Quarterback: Ray Rice Deserves the Penalty

After knocking out his wife (fiancée at the time) in an Atlantic City casino elevator and getting caught doing it by security cameras, which seem to be everywhere these days, the press has managed to turn Ray Rice's deplorable behavior and subsequent indefinite suspension from the NFL into an indictment of Roger Goodell, the league's long-time commissioner. How this became about Mr. Goodell is beyond me.

First and foremost, this is about Ray Rice and his behavior. There's no question and video proof that he punched out a defenseless woman in the confines of an elevator. Second, it's about whether the NFL is willing to tolerate such behavior by one of its players. The answer to both seems to be an absolute position by the NFL that such immoral behavior will not be tolerated. Period. Who in the NFL office knew what and when they knew it does not change the material facts. It is just not the issue.

Let's assume the NFL could have asked more questions initially, but didn't. Sometimes things just happen that way. I know in my own job, it can take time for facts to fully develop when dealing with a problem. Knee jerk reactions are not usually the best response. Sometimes you have to wait for all the facts to surface before you can figure out what the appropriate action should be. As I write this, the facts of the Rice situation are still unfolding. And whether or not Mr. Goodell's initial response was the best, he has certainly and appropriately reacted to the unfolding facts as he says he's become aware of them.

So whether Roger Goodell acted quickly enough or acted appropriately at first is not the issue. His performance, or lack thereof, is between himself and the 32 NFL owners who employ him. Not me, not you, not the media. Let's not forget that this is about Ray Rice and the assault he committed. Ray Rice is the one who needs to pay the price, whether that's criminal or financial or both. He is the one who erred and the one who needs to be held accountable. The penalty rightfully goes to him.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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