Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Ray Rice Argument Gets Hit

The AP examined video initially released by TMZ but here augmented with audio of the fight between Ray Rice and his then-fiance that got him a two-game suspension at first but which swelled into a media-led crusade against Roger Goodell. TMZ released video of the fight, and it led to a firestorm and subsequent release of Rice from the Baltimore Ravens and indefinite suspension from the NFL.

The TMZ video led to this firestorm, but AP's additional analysis shows the fight was not a case of unprovoked assault by Rice. Rice certainly deserved suspension for two games from the NFL, but the attack on Goodell for the alleged leniency of the punishment completely ignores that the balance of information did not warrant punishment beyond what Goodell implemented.

This is another example of seeing a video and assuming it is the full story when in fact it is exactly the opposite. The balance of information is that Rice did something wrong, his fiance also did something wrong, and Roger Goodell, examining the incident on all information and on its own merits, issued proper punishment.

The late Peter Braestrup warned about the kind of reaction we're seeing with Ray Rice when he noted that in terms of information, a video usually tells you almost nothing. What people need to do is stop reacting to a video and start examining an issue or incident based on as many facts as are available.

Update: see also this look at how TMZ engaged in fraudulent armchair lawyering.

See also the transcript of Goodell's interview with CBS, for ESPN's Outside The Lines on September 11 tried to claim Goodell was caught in a contradiction when he stated, "when we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened."  The problem is the full transcript shows the term is not a contradiction.

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