Ray Rice was reinstated to the NFL last Friday. A neutral judge found that he had not lied in his testimony to Roger Goodell about Ray’s incident of domestic violence against his then-fiancée Janay Palmer (which raises the interesting question of why Roger Goodell claimed otherwise, but that’s another article in and of itself), and held that Ray could not be punished twice for the same crime simply to appease public opinion. Some people took this to mean that a team would instantly sign Ray, and were outraged that he might play football again.
I find this an interesting example of a question I’ve frequently asked myself about American culture: Are we, as a nation, focused on rehabilitation—on changing mistakes? Or is our primary concern retribution, the righteous vengeance of the wronged—on punishing mistakes?
Ray most likely will not play again this year. NFL teams won’t risk the PR backlash…
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