An Open Letter To Ray Rice: Take The Harsher Penalty


This is your chance to do the right thing, help heal the damage you have done with your actions.

Now that the NFL has adopted harsher penalties for domestic violence after your actions, you should be the first person to have to abide by the new punishment.

Yes, you.

You should step up like a man and demand that you be suspended longer than you were.

You should insist that you get the now mandatory six-games for a first offense, not the paltry two-game suspension you received.

Most were almost as furious over your penalty as they were over your violent actions.

Everybody — including your friends, your wife, your family members and your teammates — knows you got off lightly.

Even you know it. That's why YOU should impose this ban on yourself.

Pick up the phone today. Call the NFL office. Tell Goodell you request to be suspended four more games for a total of six.

The Ravens and their fans would understand. They would respect your decision, even though they'd miss you on the football field.

It would be ground-breaking. You would set an example for all out there. People would honestly know you were truly sorry and willing to give up six football games for a fresh start toward forgiveness.

It would be a moment people would remember. It wouldn't just be about our violent actions against the fiancée.

On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell finally came clean and admitted he botched the handling of your case.

Many believed Goodell should have handed down more than a two-game suspension to you, the Baltimore Ravens starting running back, after being accused of assaulting your fiancée, now wife.

Goodell, who said he did everything under his power in handing out your sentence at the time, announced that he's has changed the penalties for such cases involving any NFL employee.

For a first offense, a player will get a six-game suspension. If there's a second situation, that player could be banned from the game.

It sounds harsh, but it's not. Domestic violence shouldn't be tolerated. The NFL did the right thing in changing how it handles such crimes.

The NFL was roundly criticized when you were given what most called a slap on the wrist for knocking out your now-wife and dragging her out of an elevator which was caught on tape.

"My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families," Goodell wrote in a letter to NFL owners. "I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will."

Now, it's your turn to one-up the NFL.

You should admit that your punishment didn't fit the crime.

How refreshing your action would be. It would tell people you are more serious about life, your wife and family than just about playing football games.

It would let other men out there know there's no place in this world to ever put your hands on a woman.

Best of all, women, young and old, would have a newfound respect for you. Yes, you made a huge mistake. But in the end, you took responsibility and took the RIGHT penalty.

Remember there is life after football. By stepping up and owning up to your mistake, people will have an easier time accepting you back as a decent person in society.

Right now, most think of you simply as the football player who beat his wife in public and basically got away with it.

It's not where you want your name to be as you move forward in your life.

Here's your chance to be different, be bold. Your wife, your family, the NFL all suffered from your actions. It's time you suffered more. You just have to take the necessary action, exhibit some contriteness and pay your penance.

Rob Parker is a columnist for The Shadow League. He is also an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in Los Angeles. He co-hosts The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.