The graphic video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice senselessly beating his then-fiance was enough to (finally) boot him off the team. Following the announcement, the Ravens tweeted their offer to fans that they could exchange their formerly purchased Ray Rice jerseys.
The Baltimore Ravens will offer an exchange for Ray Rice jerseys at stadium stores. Details to come.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 9, 2014
The NFL has gained a host of critics for their botched handling of the episode. When the charges against Rice first surfaced, the football league issued a weak two-game suspension against him. It wasn't until TMZ released the appalling video footage of him punching and dragging his now-wife Janay Rice out of an elevator, that the NFL decided to confiscate his jersey.
There's no doubt the NFL's judgment should have been swifter. Why did they have to wait until watching a graphic four-minute video before ultimately making the right decision? Surely, the initial evidence should have been sufficient to justify much more than a temporary suspension. As the WaPo's Jeffrey Tomik asks, if this is the case, how many other professional football players have assaulted their girlfriends or wives, yet are being let off the hook because there is no video to prove it?
In light of Rice's deplorable behavior, the NFL has since adopted a stricter domestic violence policy. Now, a first offense will result in a six-game suspension, and a second will justify a permanent suspension.
The Ravens are right to allow sports fans to replace their now tainted Ray Rice jerseys with more acceptable names. But, perhaps what really needs to be exchanged, is the NFL leadership.