Seeing is believing

He didn't hesitate.

The woman stepped toward him, and he punched her in the face. 

Like it was the logical thing to do. Like it was second nature. Like he had done it before.

That's what Ray Rice did. Now here's what you do, Roger Goodell.

You take the opportunity today's TMZ release of this repugnant video affords you, and you rectify the mistake you've admitted you made. You, at the very least, quadruple the laughable two-game suspension you gave to Rice, back when we were having to write around what may have happened, because now we've seen for ourselves. The world has seen.

I guess the world got mad enough - though its citizens were probably still going to fill stadiums next Sunday - because hallefuckinlujah, some action. First, the Baltimore Ravens announced they terminated Rice's contract - a laudable move, but one that, if reports that the team saw the video in July are true, is lamentably overdue. On the heels of that move, showing the proactive, forward-thinking stuff of true leaders, Goodell announced Rice's indefinite suspension.

Great. But Sports Illustrated NFL insider Peter King reported on July 29 that Ravens brass and "the NFL" - which means Goodell - had seen the video. The only thing that has happened between then and now to make this worse is that more people saw it.

The league told TMZ that it did ask police for "all information," including the video, but I suspect it didn't push real hard. (There's also the matter of authorities who saw this video and yet allowed Rice to plea bargain his way out of assault charges, but that's another issue.)

It's a sad world when TMZ has to be its public conscience. 

Good on the celebrity news website, though. Good job bringing what is ugly into the light. I wasn't sure I could watch the video. I won't watch it again. But now, the gray of not knowing for sure what went on in that elevator has turned technicolor, and it's the color of shame.

You have made quite clear that you rule this fiefdom, Mr. Goodell, and what a land of riches it is. Too bad you didn't have the balls to apply that power like you should have in the first place. 

This all feels depressingly familiar. Didn't we learn at Rutgers that you can't, no matter how powerful you think you are, control information? Former basketball coach Mike Rice wasn't fired until video of him hurling basketballs and invectives at his players surfaced. Rutgers administrators thought, wrongly, that they could contain the scandal, until it blew up in their faces and caused far more damage than it would have if people trusted to act with integrity had done so.

Here is another lesson from Rutgers that can apply here: Former athletic director Tim Pernetti swiftly followed Mike Rice out the door. The same should be true with Goodell and Ray Rice. Leaders do what's right because that's what leaders do. They don't wait until seeing makes not believing impossible.