Orbiting Cleveland: It’s time to hold Rice, Peterson accountable


ravens-rice-footballI’m tired.

I’m fatigued.

I’m literally exhausted when it comes to hearing about the actions of professional athletes.

As we know, it’s not exactly been a banner week for the National Football League. On Monday, TMZ Sports released a graphic video from last February that showed Rice literally knock out his then-fiancé, Janay Palmer, in an elevator in Atlantic City.

The aftermath of the video’s release has been significant. Rice has since been released by the Baltimore Ravens, suspended indefinitely by the NFL and the Canadian Football League has even followed suit.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is now under fire as reports indicate that the NFL received the tape months ago, but decided to look away. Goodell contends that he never saw the full tape, so where exactly does the truth lie?

Either way, what exactly did Goodell and the NFL think happened inside that elevator? An earlier video showed Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer from the elevator. That type of scene does not just happen on its own.

The other big NFL news this week surrounds Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was indicted in Montgomery County, Texas due to the report that he beat his 4-year-old son with a tree branch as a form of punishment this summer.

Everyone has their own opinion as to what is and what is not an acceptable form of discipline, but there’s no denying that some of the details surrounding this case are pretty gross. His son told police that he fears that Peterson would punch him in the face and said Peterson puts leaves in his mouth while he hits his backside with a tree branch.

Peterson reportedly cooperated with authorities but sees nothing wrong with his actions. When Peterson was asked how he felt about the incident, he said, “To be honest with you, I feel very confident with my actions because I know my intent.” He also described the incident as a “normal whooping” in regards to the “welps” on the child’s buttocks.

By no means is this intended to be a political statement on the negative effects that can come from spanking a child. However, should the words “whooping” and “4-year-old” ever really have any correlation?

Where exactly is Peterson’s accountability?

It’s 2014, and it should not be hard to see that stuffing leaves in a 4-year-old’s mouth while spanking his bare behind repeatedly with a tree branch is not an accepted parenting method.

Peterson’s inability to see anything wrong with what he did seems eerily familiar to a press conference this past May with Rice and Palmer. During the press conference, Ray Rice apologized for “the situation he and his wife were in.”

He then apologized to the Ravens organization, the NFL and his fans. Not once did he say “I’m sorry” to the only person who really deserved to hear it — his wife.

Once again, no accountability.

To be fair, how can we expect the athletes to ever have any accountability when we as fans don’t even hold them accountable?

This past week, a Twitter user contacted Everybody Hates Cleveland via twitter (@EvrybdyHatesCLE) and posted the following tweet:

Support what exactly?

I’ll tell you what @RavenBoutRAVENS, here’s what I will support. I’ll support Rice holding himself admitting his mistakes, openly accepting his suspension, getting the help he desperately needs and truly doing the right thing by the fans and the NFL. Until then, we have nothing to talk about. Sending random tweets out with the hashtag #SupportRayRice is about as hollow of an initiative that I have ever seen.

Unfortunately, @RavenBoutRAVENS is not the only individual to be on the #SupportRayRice bandwagon. A large group of Ravens fans contend that Rice has done so much for the Baltimore community and deserved to be treated better.

Apparently, these fans do not realize that one severe negative action can outweigh thousands of positive ones. Need proof? Go ask Joe Paterno’s family.

The fans supporting Rice make me think back to 2010 when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was investigated for sexual assault after an incident at Capitol City nightclub in Milledgeville, Georgia. A lengthy investigation ended with Roethlisberger not getting charged with rape.

All the while, a handful of vocal Steelers fans maintained his innocence while making disgusting insinuations in regard to the accuser.

Never mind the fact that rape remains one of the most difficult crimes to prosecute in this country. Also, these fans seemed to disregard three crucial facts from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s report:

  1. Roethlisberger’s security led the female to a bathroom where the quarterback was.
  2. The security then guarded the door to ensure no one entered.
  3. The alleged victim told the doctor she had been raped, and the report indicates there was “superficial laceration and bruising and slight bleeding in the genital area.”

Roethlisberger ultimately did not face a rape charge as the allegation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which happens frequently when dealing with rape allegations.

Still, with the evidence that we have, what exactly do we think happened in that bathroom? Was this guy really worth defending?

Unfortunately, it appears as if many fans are taking the same response with Rice. I’m sure it will be the same case with Peterson as well.

But remember that you’re not doing these guys any favors by refusing to hold them accountable. For their entire lives, professional athletes are showered with incessant praise and treated like royalty.

It’s as if they can do no wrong.

But what happens when they do?

If we are to hold them to such a high standard for the good they do, it’s only fair that we do the same for when they do wrong.

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