When Ray Rice delivered that vicious left-handed blow to the head of his then-fiancee Janay Palmer, he probably wasn’t thinking, “I’m about to make a statement about society.”
In fact, it’s obvious that he wasn’t thinking at all. He was angry. He was acting like an idiot. And now, he’s been kicked off the team and suspended indefinitely from the NFL. And rightfully so.
In case you missed it — On Monday, video surfaced of the 27-year-old former Baltimore Ravens running back brutally punching Palmer in the head, knocking her unconscious. The assault was caught on video by Atlantic City elevator security cameras and was later released by TMZ (who else?) for all the world to see.
As expected, America erupted in outrage. How dare this man strike a defenseless woman? Who does he think he is? Fire him! Ban him! Throw him in jail!
If we were living in the Dark Ages, radical feminists would probably be screaming, Off with his head!
Talk radio and TV news pundits across the country rushed to condemn Rice’s actions and many were, understandably, shocked that Mrs. Rice has chosen to stand by her now-husband’s side and defend him from all the media jackals eager to serve her husband up on a silver platter.
In an Instagram post, she said:
“No one knows the pain that the media and unwanted opinions from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific…Just know that we will continue to grow and show the world what real love is. Ravensnation we love you!”
I’m a strong believer in redemption and forgiveness. And maybe that’s what will happen here. Maybe she and Ray will work through their marital issues and, as she said, “grow and show the world what real love is.” I hope that they do.
But for now, people are furious about one thing: Ray Rice, a man, struck Janay Palmer, a woman. And something about that just isn’t right.
But why is it not right? Surely it can’t be the simple fact that she’s a woman. It must be more complicated than that. Right? After all, if feminist groups like the National Organization for Women say that men and women are equals, why the outrage? Would they have been as equally outraged if the situation had been reversed? If Janay had decked Ray Rice, would people be calling for her arrest? My guess is that it would be quite the opposite. She would be championed as a hero for women’s rights. Or they would say that she was simply “standing up for herself.” Or it would be assumed that Rice somehow provoked her. (Which, according to some reports, he did — by spitting on her twice.)
Ironically, it’s the activists from N.O.W. who are calling for the resignation of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell — who they blame for not firing Rice back in July when the first casino elevator video surfaced. Goodell originally issued a two-game suspension for Rice in July as the first video did not actually show Rice punching his then-fiancee. Monday’s video did. Hence, the firestorm.
And it’s not just the feminists. Dozens of NFL players took to social media to voice their opinions. Dick’s Sporting Goods even pulled Rice jerseys from its Baltimore-area stores. Droves of Ravens fans filed into retail stores seeking to return their Rice jerseys. Even President Obama released a statement condemning domestic violence and said, “Hitting a woman is not something a real man does.”
So it turns out that, despite what the feminists will tell you, there must be some inherent differences between men and women — something other than our physical and genetical makeup. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so much fury directed at Rice’s behavior. If men and women were truly “equal” in every societal regard, a man punching a woman in the face should be no different than a man punching another man in the face. Right?
Except, it’s not the same. Men and women ARE different. It’s not something many people want to admit or acknowledge. But it’s the truth. And, despite the cliche, chivalry is, apparently, not dead. It must be alive and well — evidenced by the massive outrage over Rice’s actions. There’s never an excuse for inflicting bodily harm (or, really, harm of any kind) on a woman. It’s not just reprehensible, it’s outright demonized by our society. Men aren’t supposed to act that way. They aren’t supposed to act that way. Think about that. This must mean that there’s a set of standards that men are expected to honor. If there weren’t, Rice wouldn’t have even been cut from the team. And it must mean that men and women have different roles in society. Men are expected to treat women with respect (even women who don’t respect them) and to protect and defend them.
Follow a hypothetical with me for a moment: Let’s say Ray Rice, upset about losing a game, got drunk at a local bar and wound up in a fist fight with some random male patron sitting a few stools down at the counter. They throw a few punches, shatter some beer glasses and leave the bar with black eyes and some bruises. Reporters catch the whole thing on video and it makes national news the following day. Do you think the Ravens would have cut him from the team? Do you think the NFL would have suspended him? Do you think there would be the same level of public outrage? I doubt it. You know and I know that, if anything, Rice would have been suspended from one game. Maybe. And the vast majority of the public wouldn’t have even blinked at the story. Sadly, that’s the sort of behavior most of us expect from overpaid athletes on ego-trips.
Ray Rice wasn’t thinking it at the time, but he’s proven that chivalry is not dead. His reprehensible, horrific actions have proven something about society. America spoke loud and clear. And, in doing so, decimated feminism. And that’s what’s so powerful about this whole story.
Back in college, I studied the origins of chivalric code and its associations with the medieval institution of knighthood as part of my English literature minor. At its core, it is “a system of values (such as loyalty and honor) that knights in the Middle Ages were expected to follow” and “an honorable and polite way of behaving, especially toward women.” It’s the first thing that came to my mind when America got mad. It’s the first thing dozens of pundits and commentators began to debate. And it was the first thing ignored by many radical feminists. (Despite there being some positives to feminism.)
I can still remember my professor praising the virtues of chivalry and encouraging the idea that men everywhere should understand and apply its moral code to their lives. It’s a trait that, despite societal cliches and radical feminist views, is still alive and well. Let’s keep it that way.
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