The NFL's two-game suspension of Ray Rice for dragging his unconscious fiancee, now wife, Janay Rice out of an Atlantic City hotel elevator by her hair is one of the most widely panned moves the league's made in some time. A ridiculously light suspension for an ugly crime caught on tape, it's provoked outrage from all quarters ... except from the league's own television network, the Ravens front office and the league itself. On Monday morning, the NFL dispatched Adolpho Birch, senior VP of labor policy and government affairs, to defend Rice's two-game slap on the wrist.
Birch was on the Mike and Mike show, taking questions on the subject.
"The discipline that was taken by the NFL was the only discipline that occurred with respect to Mr. Rice in this case," Birch said. "Were he not an NFL player, I don't know that he would have received any punishment from any other source."
Hmm, it seems like Rice got off easy in the criminal justice system, where it's simple to beat the system when you've got millions of dollars.
Birch went on to call Rice's punishment "appropriate."
Birch was asked about other materials the commissioner might have seen through the hearing process, including additional videotape of the incident. Birch defended the league's discipline process, specifically maintaining a level of confidentiality, which goes right back to what I wrote last week about the problem with the league's seemingly arbitrary personal conduct policy.
You'll also notice this wasn't Roger Goodell dispatched to defend what's ultimately his decision. He issued a statement last week, but it's been flunkies out in front on behalf of The Shield other than that.
The Shield would like nothing more than for this affair to go away and the public to forget about it. As much as we'd all like to stop talking about idiocy that's created with first-class trolls like Stephen A. Smith, fans and the media should not let the NFL forget that it sent the wrong message on tolerating domestic violence.