By | September 22, 2014 10 Comments

Ray Rice, the NFL, and domestic violence

I would like to thank the unidentified employee of the now-closed Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, who leaked the video of the NFL player Ray Rice punching his fiancée in the head, knocking her unconscious.

The employee likely sold the video to TMZ for thousands of dollars. In my opinion, it was worth every penny he or she received, because now the public’s attention is focused on the issue of domestic violence.

It’s about time.

In the U.S., 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One in three women, and one in 14 men, have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The cost of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking exceeds $5.8 billion each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Domestic violence is a massive problem. And now, finally, people are talking about it.

6 NFL players benched

Six count them, six NFL players are off the football field because they’ve been charged with domestic violence. They are:

  • Ray Rice, running back with the Baltimore Ravens, whose punch started the NFL scandal
  • Adrian Peterson, running back with the Minnesota Vikings, accused of abusing his 4-year-old son.
  • Greg Hardy, defensive end with the Carolina Panthers, convicted of misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend.
  • Jonathan Dwyer, running back with the Arizona Cardinals, arrested for assaulting a woman and child.
  • Ray McDonald, defensive tackle with the San Francisco 49ers, arrested for domestic violence.
  • Quincy Enunwa, wide receiver with the New York Jets practice squad, charged with assault

Read about the cases here:

Benched: NFL players out amid claims of violence, on

While these players are out of the game, 10 other NFL players who were previously arrested for domestic violence or related charges are still playing, according to NBC News. They are:

  • Chris Cook of the San Francisco 49ers
  • Tony McDaniel and Kevin Williams of the Seattle Seahawks
  • Brandon Marshall and Santonio Holmes of the Chicago Bears
  • Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys
  • Erik Walden of the Indianapolis Colts
  • Donte Whitner of the Cleveland Browns
  • Randy Starks of the Miami Dolphins
  • Frostee Rucker of the Arizona Cardinals

Click the link below to read summaries of what happened in all of their cases.

Still Playing: 12 NFL players have domestic violence arrests, on

Since the above NBC News article was published, two of the men who were going to play Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers and Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers have been benched.

Hardy was found guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend in May. McDonald was arrested for allegedly assaulting his pregnant fiancée in August.  The other players cited in the NBC News story were involved in incidents that took place in 2012 or earlier. Many of them received one-game suspensions, or no NFL sanctions at all.

So why are players now being benched, when previously they received a slap on the wrist?

It would be nice to think that the NFL is finally doing the right thing. But I think it’s all about the money.

Ray Rice and Roger Goodell

Don Van Natta Jr., of ESPN’s investigative unit called Outside the Lines, wrote a scathing expose of the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice incident. Read:

Rice case: purposeful misdirection by team, scant investigation by NFL, on

Essentially, according to ESPN, when Ray Rice was first arrested, the owners of the Baltimore Ravens did everything they could to make his problem go away. They helped Rice retain a top criminal attorney, and they lobbied NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for light sanctions from the league.

Why? Because Ray Rice was the face of the Baltimore Ravens football franchise. He appeared in ads for a major team sponsor, M&T Bank. The bank had signed a 15-year, $75 million sponsorship deal with the Ravens in 2003, and extended it for $60 million in May.

Ray Rice was able to get into a pretrial intervention program in Atlantic County, New Jersey, and the NFL suspended him for only two games.

But then TMZ published the video from inside the casino elevator that showed Rice punching his fiancée in the head. It quickly went viral.

So now the public is upset. And when the public gets upset, sponsors like the Anheuser-Busch, McDonald’s, Visa, Campbell’s Soup and Proctor & Gamble get upset. Read:

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse, on

If sponsors pull their advertising dollars, the NFL could lose millions.

So what happened next? According to ESPN, Roger Goodell and the NFL threw Ray Rice under the bus. They accused him of downplaying the incident, when others, even Ravens Coach John Harbaugh, said Ray Rice never lied about what he had done, and was remorseful.

Domestic violence and sociopaths

Many, many Lovefraud readers have experienced violence from their intimate partners.

According to Dr. Liane Leedom, studies of male perpetrators of domestic violence reveal that 50% of them are sociopaths, and another 25% have sociopathic traits but not the full disorder.

That means 25% of the men who assault their partners are not sociopaths and do not have sociopathic traits. So what happens?

Sometimes drugs or alcohol are involved. There is a statistical correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence, although this does not mean that substance abuse causes domestic violence.

And sometimes, domestic violence is a one-time thing. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, 35% of women and 34% of men who are physically assaulted by an intimate partner are assaulted only once. The report also shows that most physical assaults are relatively minor.

Now, I do not intend to condone or excuse any form of domestic violence. But there are times when it just happens, when a person is so upset and emotional that he or she just loses it and lashes out. The person is immediately and truly remorseful, and it never happens again.

Back to Ray Rice

If the ESPN story is accurate, what happened with Ray Rice and his fiancé, Janay Palmer, could be one of those “only once” incidents. Van Natta wrote that while celebrating Valentine’s Day at the Revel Casino with two other couples, they had dinner, drank wine and then split at least one bottle of tequila. Both Ray Rice and Janay Palmer were intoxicated and heatedly arguing when they got into the elevator.

Alcohol and arguing could have led to the assault.

According to the ESPN article, when reporting to the Ravens, Rice did not try to cover up or minimize his actions, as a true sociopath would do. According to his friends, Rice was genuinely remorseful. And the Atlantic County Prosecutor allowed him into the pretrial intervention program because Rice had no previous record.

Of course, I have no personal knowledge of the incident, and I am relying on media reporting, which is always risky. What Ray Rice did was totally, unequivocally wrong. But if he is indeed one of the men who genuinely regrets his action, then the NFL’s handling of his case is even more despicable.

Domestic Violence in the NFL

Benjamin Morris, writing for the website, analyzed arrest records for the NFL, which are publicly available in the USAToday NFL Arrests Database.

Morris compared the arrest rate among NFL players, who have an average age of 25 to 27 years old, to Bureau of Justice statistics of national arrest rates for men aged 25 to 29.

Morris found that the NFL arrest rate is just 13% of the national average. But the highest category of arrests for NFL players was domestic violence.

“Domestic violence accounts for 48% of arrests for violent crimes among NFL players, compared to our estimated 21% nationally,” Morris wrote. Read:

The rate of domestic violence arrests among NFL players, on

Luckily, the NFL is in a position to do something about the rate of domestic violence among the players. These guys are making a lot of money. If they know that by assaulting their wives or girlfriends they risk losing their multi-million dollar jobs, they may think twice before they punch. This is good.

If the NFL continues to educate their teams and the public about the scourge of domestic violence, and support domestic violence organizations, this would be great.

Police and family violence

Now I wish someone could do something about the police.

According to the National Center for Women and Policing, two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, compared to 10% of families in the general population. 

Even worse, police officers often get away with domestic violence. In an article for, here’s how Conor Friedersdorf described the situation in many police departments:

Domestic abuse is underreported. Police officers are given the benefit of the doubt by colleagues in borderline cases. Yet even among police officers who were charged, arrested, and convicted of abuse, more than half kept their jobs.

Read: Police have a much bigger domestic abuse problem than the NFL, on

Can police departments change? Can society change?

At least now, because of Ray Rice and the NFL, domestic violence is being talked about. It’s a first step in the right direction.


Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of

Tough video to watch, but a really well written article Donna!! What is really scary though is that stats done by batterer specific therapeutic programs show that recidivism rates are as high as close to 85%. These are from men’s groups that are attended due to court mandated sentences.
Please my LF ladies…keep away once you get away.


Donna thank you for taking the time to write this incredible article with all the statistical facts…it really puts things into perspective when it is written in such detail.

Watching this video as an outsider I am some what glad it came into the public light. If he is willing to get this abusive in public one can only image the abuse Janay Palmer endures behind closed doors.

But my other thought watching the video the first time was immediate fear….Janay is now even more isolated because this video became public and the fact that her husband lost his job because of this coming to light will no doubt increase the domestic abuse level behind closed doors mainly emotional, mental and verbal abuse. There is no doubt that Ray Rice has twisted his insane elevator physical abuse all back to Janay behind closed doors as it being her fault that he got “upset” in the first place, that it happened in the elevator that had camera’s, that it was sold to the news, that the video went viral as this is what all abusers do. Abuser never take the blame or accountability for their horrible actions it is always always the true victims fault in the abusers sick minds. There is also no doubt that Janay has accept that it was her fault as this is what victims sadly do because of the abuser’s continual mind control, gas lighting, projecting etc (we all know it is not her fault)

I feel that Janay is now isolated even more so. She will live in fear that if she tells anyone ie a local abuse center, a friend or a paster that Ray is continuing to abuser they will take it public again. In her email that Janay posted in response to this video being released to the public, Janay stated that she was embarrassed, had shame etc. So now where does she turn to for help? Being in a abusive relationship the victims is isolated from the outside world by the abuser now the outside world has isolated her even more.

I also thought that with the media playing the video over and over would trigger Janey over and over…placing her back mentally in that elevator or any other situation that Ray Rice had abused her. This triggering will emotionally, mentally, physically breaks a victims spirt down leaving her too exhausted to think clearly to find the door out of the abusive relationship.

Janay stated that she and Ray where attending church now and receiving counseling…clearly no one in the church or the counseling office is educated on domestic abuse to help open Janey’s mind from her abusers mind control and brain washing and help her quickly away from this abusive man.

Praying for someone who is educated in domestic abuse to intervene and help Janey finally be free.

Dr. Paul Zak in his book, The Moral Molecule, expresses that high levels of testosterone can offset the creation of oxytocin, the neurotransmitter that promotes “caring” and “conscience” in the brain.

Although Janay is knocked out cold, the result of hitting her head against a railing when she was felled by his blow, Rice seems impassioned. Someone with emotional empathy would be more likely to drop to the ground to check on her and be overwhelmed with concern. Instead, he drags her by a leg and stands apart. Not the poster-boy for impassioned caring! The remorse only began when he knew people were watching.

Rice faced the possibility of charges and marrying Janay would exclude her from having to testify against him. They married the next day after the potential for charges became apparent.

We all hope for the best in abuse situations. The level of aggression in the Rice case suggests that this is not the first time. It’s likely that Janay is suffering from a Betrayal Bond and that it will take more than clocking her on the head to shake her free.



I thought the same thing. No remorse, No concern. He just waited for her to come to, as if she just passed out from too much alcohol instead of a punch by a powerful, strong superathlete. Her head didn’t just hit the rail, her head BOUNCED as she was falling from being knocked out. (TWO blows to her brain.) She needed to be taken to the emergency room. I am sure she had a concussion. I also agree, it was so NORMAL for him that it’s no big deal to him. I hope SHE saw the video, eventually she will see his actions for what they are, devoid of humanity. He’s a dangerous man.


Great article Donna!

As to the NFL, this atmosphere of ignorance has been going on for a very long time as anyone who watched former NFL quarterback Warren Moon deny then accept that he had in fact beaten his wife with her sitting next to him in a 1995 press conference with her taking full responsibility for initiating the fight. There have always been reports of NFL and other professional ball players being involved in domestic violence incidents. For the most part, most get swept under the carpet with money and legal wrangling both of which are plentiful in the upper echelon of play. Will the NFL change… only if the good ole boy network fires Roger Goodell and hires someone like Condoleezza Rice as commissioner. Until then, there is too much money in play to allow player’s personal lives to effect the money making game play.

Like Jan7, I am concerned about Janay Palmer Rice. She clearly participated in this incident. Now she is being repeatedly held victim to it. It’s hard to tell if in fact she initiated the physical end of things. It’s abundantly clear the violence she was subjected to was out of proportion to whatever preceded it. The callousness that kept her on the floor exposed and in the company of people who were not helping her is criminal. Now that the video is out, she is continually having to relive what had to be the worst day of her life only now she is married to the perpetrator and he has lost his job – thus the millions of dollars that supported them to boot. She also has a financial stake in making this go away.

If there were only cameras in everyone’s homes and bedrooms, we might get a real sense of how pervasive domestic violence is. I remember when I was in high school we were shown horrific automobile accidents in drivers education. We were warned repeatedly to drive carefully to avoid all manner of bodily damage. When my son took drivers education 20 years later, the films were of much tamer run of the mill fender benders. His teacher explained to me that studies found that the horror films I was shown were desensitizing and not all that realistically representative of the majority of accidents. I have similar concerns of this video. While shockingly brutal, if this is your vision of domestic violence then the run of the mill slaps, punches, shoves, etc., will seem acceptable and not up to the bench mark of what constitutes domestic violence in this video.

My abuser was a sociopath, though I did not have that word at the time. His abuse was subtle and shocking in turn. He was remorseful that my actions forced his hand in teaching me life lessons. We went through cycles of good times, followed by stressful tip toeing, culminating in bursts of violence with my apologizing for whatever screw up I had antagonized him with. While he was abusing and isolating me, he was having affairs with various other women. The ones I found out about were used as lessons as to how I could be a better wife to him. He abused drugs and alcohol in turn. I looked the other way because at least when he was high or drunk he left me alone. He assaulted me in private and in public. I was always amazed at how people could ignore a man choking a woman in front of the Post Office with jumper cables and carry on with their day as if all was normal. I bailed out of a truck going 55 on US 1 caring less about whether or not I died on the road and more about not wanting to spend the rest of his day off with a man who was swearing he was going to kill me. While I miraculously was not hit by another vehicle, I suppose seeing someone get out of a moving vehicle is a normal sight to morning traffic. I was more in awe of local police enforcement in their ability to fall for his redirection and distraction rather than interview me with any professional investigatory curiosity. I don’t know if Ray Rice is a sociopath, I am concerned that he and Janay need professional intervention beyond finding Jesus. I know that such professional intervention saved me from continuing to buy into the necessity of my ex husband’s brutality. The fractured skull he gave me was the last time he was able to physically hurt me.

Can police change? Yes they can. They just have to have better hiring criteria than just being a college graduate with a criminal justice background using weak psychological testing in evaluating candidates. They need to be proactive in training and frequent re-training of officers and need to let people like me give officers some real perspective in handling domestic violence calls. Officers get jaded by the frequency of domestic violence calls they make often repeatedly to the same house over and over again. Officers get desensitized by walking into domestic violence calls with a “Knight in Shining Armor” complex. I don’t remember where I got the statistic from, but, women statistically leave a man 7 times before they leave for good. I left 5 times each time learning that staying was easier until he mistakenly left me thinking I would come crawling back – which I didn’t. Police officers are not trained therapists skilled in weeding out who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. Often, it is so much more complicated than that. Victims often lash out at perpetrators feeling some measure of safety at being in police presence. Victims often lash out at police fearing the retribution they will face when the perpetrator next gets them alone. Couples in dysfunctional abusive relationships can take turns switching roles at times. Victims can be men as easily as women can be perpetrators. Trained therapists can spend hours in sessions with victims only to realize that they have a perpetrator in front of them and visa versa. Given that power corrupts, police officers are often abusers themselves. What better an occupation for someone with a abusive tendencies. As long as they channel those tendencies at work accordingly they can get away with it for years while their family lovingly supports them keeping the secret often to their own detriment. Same goes for the military and other positions of power.

I am glad this video came out. I am sad that this video came out. I am concerned about how this plays forward. I want the NFL and others to learn from this. I want high schools and colleges to understand that protecting and coddling players is while good for the team can be devastating in their player’s personal lives. If someone engages in bad behavior once and gets away with it, then the second time is that much easier and so forth. Pushing bad behavior under the rug hurts our society and does nothing to change the bad behavior. Hind sight being 20/20, I wish I had been strong, knowledgeable, and smart enough to leave my ex the first time he hit me instead of buying into his explanation of my culpability mistaking it for his remorse. That said, my experiences made me who I am and I’m in a good place even if it was well earned. I pray for Janay.


There is a mis-statement that Ray Rice has lost his source of income. Yes, he might not play football again. But he’s received a $20 million, so he’s not by any means penniless.

Rather than worried about their income, I’m more worried about a woman who married an abuser when she was brain damaged from his assault.


That was me- once apon a time a long time ago. I got married with a concussion and bruises allover which thankfully were covered by my dress. I got married because he said he would kill me and my family if I embarrassed him in front of his family. When I got down the aisle and was delivered into his hands he nearly crushed my hand in his as he was silently conveying to me that he would do everything he said he would do if I did not give the correct responses to the minister. I couldn’t see any way out so I married him and suffered the consequences.

I realize that Ray Rice still has money, I’m just saying that in marrying him she has a stake in the outcome of his losing his NFL job. She’s now living with her abuser knowing what he has already done to her leaving no doubt about his ability to do other things to her in the future. I understand that. I also defended my ex from threats to our marriage/income/police/whatever. I was too afraid not to. In my insulated view of life, if anything happened to his ability to hold a job there was no way I could support myself and our son much less him too. Add to that the stress of knowing that if he was home 24/7 I would have NO respite from him.

What I was trying to say is that I have a great deal of empathy for the position she is in. I understand because I’ve been there – just not with the entire world being able to see it. I thought my ex was was the only person who would have me after all he had already done to me. I was even a little mystified that as much as he felt me lacking, he still wanted to marry me and that he loved me.

I pray for Janay. I pray that their relationship isn’t like what I experienced. I don’t wish that on anyone. I pray that she and her husband get the help they need and that she stays safe. As horrible as things were for me, my ex wasn’t famous. I cannot imagine having to see myself being beaten over and over again thanks to the internet or having to face people I knew had witnessed my shame. I pray for Janay.


You’ve got the best handle on this than I have seen on any frickin analysis show. In his mind, she’s HIS property, his object. In his mind, He’s lost his career because of her, so she OWES him. I have no doubt she is walking a fine line that exists only where he wants that line to be.

I pray for her, too. Most expecially because I believe him capable of ending her. I watched him nudge her with his foot, not a shred of humanity in that simple act.

All this blame and condemning her for marrying him. I totally understand why she did. She’s not gullible, she’s in survival mode and not a damn soul to save her.

That’s my opinion.


I just wanted to add that this statement in your post Donna is absolute horrifying to think about:

“According to Dr. Liane Leedom, studies of male perpetrators of domestic violence reveal that 50% of them are sociopaths, and another 25% have sociopathic traits but not the full disorder.”

What really upsets me the most is the domestic abuse centers and all the “stop domestic abuse” campaigns do not tell the truth not just now but in their history of their existence. How about they just state that above statement in a magazine/news article or when a woman goes in for counseling at a counseling domestic abuse center or even walking into a regular counselor. This would stop domestic abuse cold turkey because once the woman saw one sign of mental, emotional, verbal, financial or physical abuse they would know they were most likely dealing with a sociopath!

It really infuriates me that the truth is not taught. How many generations of woman will not be told the truth and continue to endure abuse like Janay? Our society continues to give abusers a “second chance because he deserves one”…look at Vick (?) the football player that abused dogs he’s back playing football…no doubt Ray Rice will sadly be back too…How about giving the victim the truth from day one?

Thank you Donna for spreading the truth you are saving so many victims!!!

All great comments on a very insightful article. I’m surprised that the names O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson have not been mentioned, however!

Lovefraud is being upgraded. Comments and forum posts are temporarily disabled. Dismiss

Send this to a friend