From Theresa Latini
Of the many new stories in the airwaves this past week, the Ray Rice video rose to the top. Rice, a Baltimore Ravens running back, was suspended for two games at the end of July after a video showed him dragging his unconscious fiancée, Janay Palmer, from an elevator. The incident occurred last February. Rice was arrested but his fiancée (now wife) did not press charges. The case was dropped, but the NFL was pressured to respond with some sort of discipline. So they did—the two game suspension. After a firestorm of public criticism that this fell far short of adequate, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a public apology and instituted a new and rather commendable policy on assault, battery, domestic violence, and sexual assault applicable to all NFL personnel (not just players).
A few days ago, the full video of the incident was leaked to the media. It shows Rice punching and knocking out Palmer and then dragging her from the elevator with obvious disregard. Again, public outcry intensified. Rice was let go from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
Much could be said about this incident as it has unfolded, but one question has stuck with me: “What did people think had gone on in the elevator before we saw him drag her out?” Marie Fortune, executive director of Faith Trust Institute, arguably the most influential organization in the United States dedicated to training clergy and theological educators about domestic violence, sexual abuse, and clergy misconduct, asked this precise question in her recent blog. While she didn’t reflect further on it, I can’t seem to let go of it.