Steve Bisciotti says 1st thought upon TMZ release: "Why didn't we get that video and how could the league not have seen that video?"
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 22, 2014
In any significant situation, there are always questions. When the situation becomes public, the biggest one is often left unanswered: Why.
As the Ray Rice casino-video saga has played out the past weeks, we’ve heard that question over and over again. On television, radio – read it on Facebook and Twitter – and still, it remains unanswered.
- Why did Ray Rice do it in the first place?
- Why did Rice only get suspended for two games initially?
- Why didn’t the NFL ask for the video?
- Why is Roger Goodell still the commissioner?
- Why didn’t the Baltimore Ravens ask for the video?
- Why did TMZ break the news when other “more-traditional” sports news outlets did not?
- It even spawned two powerful and illuminating hashtags: #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft
It all comes back to “why”.
No matter our education level, our background, our financial or social status, we always want to know “why”. It can help us to gain knowledge, analyze possibilities, to sort through emotions, or, in the case of this Ray Rice video, provides us an outlet for which to channel our emotions.
Seems like a simple question. But, it often comes with a complex answer. With Rice, the NFL and the Ravens, it crosses societal, cultural, political and sports realms. There is no simple answer in that quartet. Because there’s no simple answer in this scenario, emotions rise. Even today:
We all have our “why” questions. At times, they frustrate us because there is no answer. Or rather, no answer that will satisfy us.
If the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens had seen the video after the initial story, what then? Ray Rice would have been suspended for longer, sure. Then what? Would we be discussing domestic violence like we do now in the sports community? Most likely not. Because it’s sports. We want to cheer on our teams and play our fantasy football (as if that makes anyone more of a fan – but that’s a story for another day). We have long tuned out what happens off the field because it is just a sport. It has no effect on what happens on the field, right?
Domestic violence will still happen across America long after Roger Goodell and Ray Rice are gone from the NFL. What happens to our outrage then? Will we hold on to our anger enough to recognize it’s not just an NFL issue? Will the conversation continue? Will we channel our frustration into action? Or, will we continue to just tweet it out with no corresponding action?
Why not more?