NFL Thought We Wouldn’t Find Out
Ray Rice elevator video was sent to the NFL three months ago, source says | World news | theguardian.com
A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive three months ago, while league officers have insisted they didn’t see the violent images until this week.
The person played the Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: “You’re right. It’s terrible.”
A Common Sin
A common sin in the world of business ethics is to make a stop gap measure and hope to avoid the full consequences of what happened. If the NFL indeed had that video for three long months, we are dealing with that scenario.
The NFL when confronted with a player’s misbehavior did a minor penalty and expected to ride out the controversy. But then the video came out. Now apparently having new evidence of more serious conduct the organization fired the perp. Except it wasn’t new evidence. They knew that the film was devastating but as long as no one else saw it, they would be fine.
What was the NFL doing? They apparently knew that their man had acted abominably and that the video would the put the League’s actions under a blaze of hostile media coverage. But no one knew and they were comfortable with that. And they should not have been. They were evading their responsibility to do justice for their members and to be seen doing justice by the public at large. It’s wrong to take half measure when presented with evil. It’s wrong to judge a crime an inconvenience that can be overlooked. It’s wrong to reward reprehensible conduct with a minor penalty. And above all, it was wrong to imply that battering a wife is no big deal.
A Failure Both of Judgment and Morality
This is a business as usual problem. Undoubtedly the League got away with this kind of stalling tactic before. But the world has changed. We are moving from a society where beating women is just something people do, a matter of some humor, to a society that takes crimes against women seriously. The boy will be boys crap is going out of style.
And there is the added factor of technological change. Increasingly we are under surveillance at all times in all places. You’d think the League would have had enough intelligence to figure out that there was a high probability of another tape. Probably they didn’t care.
The lesson here is plain. Do justice. Be accountable. Of course, the tendency to take the apparent easy out will usually take precedence, human nature being what it is.