On Ray Rice and new ownership in Buffalo

Ever since the Ray Rice video hit computer screens across the country, I have seen and heard many in the media calling for NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell’s head…or at least his job. I think many people are running off emotion when they make these statements because, let’s face it, this is a very emotional issue.

Did the NFL drop the ball with their original findings and suspension of Ray Rice? Yes, and Goodell admitted as much with his letter to league employees when the NFL changed their domestic violence policy.

In all honesty, I don’t believe anyone in the league office saw the video we all saw until Sunday night or Monday morning. I have spent the good part of my adult life working in the NFL. The people in the league office are not stupid and they don’t go out of their way to cover up an event. If they knew a tape was available, they also knew that it would be seen by the public at some time. Common sense dictates that if they saw the tape, they would have acted in an appropriate manner to begin with.

Let’s look at this a little deeper. If the NFL dropped the ball in this case, so did the Atlantic City police. Upon seeing the video, how in the hell did they let Rice just walk away from this crime by going through a diversion program? The investigating agencies don’t want to be put in an embarrassing situation, but that’s exactly what they have done here.

One answer to that question may be that while the police should have made a much bigger deal over this incident, they didn’t because Rice had never been in trouble before. So they let him plead down, put him in the diversionary program and moved on. Was that the right thing to do? No, but that’s what happened. As appalling as this situation is, if the crime hadn’t been committed by Ray Rice, who is an NFL star, we wouldn’t be talking about it.

Ray RiceWill Ray Rice ever play in the NFL again?

The good that comes out of this is that we are talking about domestic violence and maybe now more can be done to curtail it. Domestic violence is something that affects far too many people in a very silent manner and not enough is done to prevent it.

Getting back to the NFL, the league asked the investigating police departments and the district attorney’s office for any pertinent video of the incident. They were denied. Why? I don’t have the answer to that, but I think based on how the legal matters of this case turned out, the police didn’t put as much stock into the video as we have. That’s an eye opener.

Should the league have done more to obtain a copy of the video? Obviously they should have, but they didn’t for who knows what reason. If TMZ can get a copy, why couldn’t the powerful NFL? I am only speculating here, but it would not surprise me if a now unemployed member of the closed Revel Casino hotel security force made a copy of the tape available to the highest bidder.

Obviously, the release of the video has changed things. Both the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL acted swiftly. The Ravens cut Rice within hours of the video being released followed by the NFL suspending Rice indefinitely.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he doubts Rice will ever play in the league again. That may be true. Some will say that Michael Vick got a second chance, so why shouldn’t Rice? That’s a good question, but the answer to that question is that we never saw a video of Michael Vick abusing dogs. If we had, Vick may never have gotten that second chance.

What is disturbing is that with all the publicity this case has gotten, why hasn’t more been done regarding the Ray McDonald case in San Francisco? McDonald is still playing! The answer is that the league has a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players union. When something of this nature occurs, the case has to go through the judicial system before the league can take action.

That is what happened in the Rice case. After Rice was put into the diversionary program, the league acted with their penalty. While the league has recently increased penalties for domestic violence, more has to be done. A player should not be allowed to play in any games after he is charged with domestic violence. He should be suspended with pay until the case is resolved. The public outcry has made this issue very sensitive and to let someone play is wrong. After all, playing football in the NFL is not a right, it’s a privilege.

The Buffalo Bills

On Tuesday it was announced that the trust that was handing the sale of the Buffalo Bills had reached an agreement to sell the team to Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. For months, many had speculated that the Bills would be sold to someone who would eventually move the team out of Buffalo.

Terry PegulaBills fans rejoice as new owner Terry Pegula will keep the team in Buffalo.

The sale to Pegula takes away any chance of that happening and now the Bills will be in Buffalo for years to come. Having been born and raised in Buffalo, I couldn’t be happier. Losing the Bills would have been the death of that city.

While the sale still needs to be approved by the other owners of the NFL. That should be just a formality, as Pegula is already an NHL owner in high standing.

Based on how Pegula has run the Sabres, his ownership of the Bills should be exciting. He will be actively involved and will go all out in trying to help the Bills win a championship. Bills fans can rest assured that Pegula will hire the best people available to reach that goal.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Bills get a new stadium in downtown Buffalo in the not-too-distant future. A downtown stadium would help revitalize the city as much as it would help the Bills.

Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggabe

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