Posts Tagged ‘Ray Rice’

What To Make of the Tired and Disturbing Case of Ezekiel Elliott

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

by Gus Griffin







The only thing that I am certain of in the battle between the Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel

Elliott and the NFL, which wants to suspend him for 6 games over allegations of domestic violence, is that

I am tired of it and want it to end!

Beyond that, all bets are off.

My initial thinking when pondering writing this was to rail against the self-interest obsessed Cowboy

fans, Jerry Jones’ white male wealth privilege and those apologists, mostly men, for abusers.

Then I did what I hope every opinion writer does: I actually engaged in a more detailed researching of

the “central charge” (I’ll explain why the quotations for this later) against Elliott. After doing this I have

come to the only conclusion anyone could come to, which is that I have no idea who is the victim

between Elliott and his accuser. The inquire raises more questions than it answers. To briefly summarize

the reasons for doubting the accuser are the following:

1) Text messages secured by the NFL show the accuser discussing blackmailing Elliott with a sex


2) The accuser tried to convince a friend to lie on her behalf and support her claim that Elliott was responsible for her bruises. The friend refused and cited a fight between the accuser and another lady in an affidavit as the possible source of her bruises; and

3) She verbally threatened to ruin Elliott

It’s important to be an ally of women in the fight against domestic violence. As a man, I believe that I can

play a similar role in this struggle as Whites can play in combating racism. I also believe that I have taken

concrete steps to be an ally. The data is clear in that the overwhelming number of allegations of

domestic abuse are true. Having said that, the quest to be an ally does not mean that I am obliged to

blindly endorse the allegations of everyone. Basic fairness demands that allegations, even from a

historically abused demographic, be scrutinized and when that is done in this case, the only conclusion is

that the accuser’s credibility is suspect, so much so that the NFL’s own lead investigator recommended

no suspension for Elliott.

So why is this still a pending issue dangling over the head of Elliott, you ask? There are two primary

reasons for this:

1) Ezekiel Elliott has been a knucklehead with enough documented acts that indicate a lack of

respect for women and poor impulse control and judgment in general. When the totality of his

record is considered, it is not that much of a stretch to believe Elliott is capable of what he is

being accused. The NFL collective bargaining agreement, which the players sign off on permits

the commissioner to consider such incidents in a cumulative manner when pondering discipline.

Therefore, any reviewing of the “central charge” alone is incomplete. It cannot be refuted by

“the police did not charge him” common claim because it’s not a legal process but a workplace

disciplinary process;

2) The NFL has an inconsistent track record when dealing with its players accused of violence

towards women, be it Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, or Josh Brown. As a result, there is tremendous

pressure to get this one right;

3) Elliott is the best player on the most popular team in the most popular sport in America. Anyone in that position, regardless of race, with these accusations is going to draw more scrutiny than say a punter, as was the case with kicker Josh Brown.

You may ask how the NFL can get it right if the player is literally not guilty of the accusation. That’s when

it gets even more complicated. Like it or not, there are at least 2 factors that the NFL considers BEFORE

the actual merits of the accusation. Those two are money and public relations. The actual merits of the

charges are at best a distant third . Money is easy enough to understand. Anything that the NFL deems as having the potential to dip into its bottom line must be dealt with ASAP. Then there are the public

relations of the issue, which is a direct extension of the money factor. This can be best summarized by

saying that the NFL is more concerned with damage control than it is the damage itself. That means

actually caring about domestic violence is not nearly as important to them as appearing to care about

the issue. What this all means is that in the wake of botching the Ray Rice and Josh Brown cases, they

needed a pound of flesh.

Enter Ezekiel Elliott!

So, after multiple court injunctions and stays and no clear ending to the stalemate, here we are.

Based on history, it’s highly unlikely that Elliott will avoid a suspension. It’s not a question of if he will sit

but when, and for how long. After all, even the golden boy, Tom Brady, eventually had to sit. Judges are

very hesitant to overturn provisions of a collectively bargained agreement and that is what the NFL has

as its trump card. Given that, what I have never quite understood is why the Cowboys didn’t play this

differently. Why not take the precedent of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger back in 2010? He got the

same 6-game suspension for multiple accusations of sexual assault. It was eventually reduced to 4

games, during which the Steelers went 3-1. They would win the AFC that year, making it to the Super

Bowl, a highly unlikely accomplishment had they taken the Cowboys approach to Elliott’s situation this

year. Even if Elliott’s suspension were not reduced, the 6 games would be over by now. They could have

gone 3-3 (their record with him after 6) without him. They would have him back, healthy and rested for

the second half of the season, including both games against the high-flying, first place Eagles. Now that is all in doubt, as are the Cowboys’ playoffs hopes.

So why didn’t they take that approach? I can only come up with 3 possible reasons:

1) Jerry Jones is used to getting his way and would not back down;

2) Elliot, like most professional athletes, is programmed not to back down and is engaged in this process in the same way; or

3) He actually did not abuse her.

I do not know which one, two, or all three might have been at the heart of the Cowboys’ strategy.

That disturbs me but not nearly as much as the fact that this saga has given a platform to misogynist and

apologist for those who abuse women.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

The Defense of Ray Rice

Monday, September 15th, 2014

by Joe Davis

Joe davis






I’m not defending the actions of Ray Rice.  I believe he made a horrible decision that will change his life forever.  Whatever discipline comes to him, it is warranted.  Many people around the country are upset with the Ravens fans that are still supporting him by wearing his jersey.  They are quick to criticize them as close-minded, die-hard fans that only care about football.  It’s not all about the fan base.  The answer lies within the city.

Baltimore is a very loyal place.  In Baltimore, the city has a very close family feel.  It is a major city (600,000+ population) with a small city feel.  Baltimore has a big chip on its shoulders.  Being in between Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, it often gets overlooked nationally.  If Baltimore embraces you as one of their own, they have your back through the thick and thin.  If the Ray Lewis incident happened in another city, he probably would have been cut and pushed aside.  Here in Baltimore, he just had a statue erected in front of M&T Bank Stadium.  The sense is we can talk about you but if someone outside the family does, then it’s on.  I have been in debates with Ravens fans that have spoken badly about Joe Flacco, but as soon as I have criticized him, I have felt the wrath.  As a Baltimorean that isn’t a Ravens fan, I really understand both sides of the issue.

So here’s the truth about Ray Rice.  He isn’t a wife-beating monster that should never play in the NFL again.  Nor is he the 1500 yard back that the Ravens can give the ball to 25+ times per game anymore.  The Ravens struggled with weather or not they should have cut him after a terrible 2013 season.  I honestly that they kept him because he was such a good guy, both on the field and off.  Ravens fans that wore his jersey to the game on Thursday against Pittsburgh were saying loudly that this is our guy and we still love him.  I hope Ray Rice has learned from his drunken actions from that night.  I also hope that his wife Janay and Ray continue to grow and support each other.  More than anything, I hope that their daughter will grow up and know that her daddy isn’t the bad guy that hit mommy.  I hope that the family gets the support from those surrounding them that they will need.  If not from the NFL and the Ravens, they can always turn to Baltimore.


Joe Davis of Sideline to Sideline, for War Room Sports 

AFISW Discussion Post: Ray Rice

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

by Gus Griffin





(Image via

(Image via

How can a man pose that the NFL penalty for Ray Rice was about right without coming off as indifferent to domestic violence……or is it even possible?


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Super Bowl XLVII Preview

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

by Brandon Pemberton





While it’s the day we’ve been looking forward to since training camps opened up in July, it’s also bittersweet, knowing that the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are playing the final game of the 2012 NFL season on Sunday.  There are plenty of good stories related to the big game: Jim and John Harbaugh are the coaches and brothers, born only 15 months apart and coming from a father Jack, who was a good coach himself.  Ray Lewis is playing in his final game, win or lose and the story that he used a banned substance to speed up his recovery from his torn triceps has trumped the fact that his 17-year illustrious career is coming to a close.   Finally we have 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick who will being starting only his 10th game of his career –  In New Orleans at Super Bowl XLVII, which by far is the most important and intriguing story of them all.  The fate of the 49ers for the most part lays on his shoulders.  I will preview and breakdown the game: Offensively, Defensively, and on Special teams and give you my winner.

Joe Flacco (l); Colin Kaepernick (r)










49ers: When head coach Jim Harbaugh decided to stick with Colin Kaepernick and make him the 49ers starting QB after Alex Smith went down with a concussion, he was taking a big risk.  A move like that could split the locker room and possibly cost a team that already was good enough to make the Super Bowl, their season.  But Kaepernick has been 7-2 as a starter (including 2-0 playoffs), adding a big play dimension to the 49ers that they lacked with Alex Smith at the helm.  The 49ers utilize the zone read and read option very well with Kaepernick’s ability to use his legs, opening up more passing lanes off of play action and it also gives more running room for running backs Frank Gore and LaMichael James.  They will have a tough task running up against the stout front of the Ravens, but they will and have shown the tendency to keep running the ball, to keep teams honest.

The 49ers passing game is much more explosive with Kaepernick’s strong arm and the 49ers receivers are benefiting from it.  Vernon Davis had 5 catches for 106 yards and a TDs two weeks ago versus the Falcons.  Randy Moss had 3 catches for 46 yards, his best performance in a while.  While most think he his just a running QB, Kaepernick has shown the ability to throw accurate strikes from the pocket.  Look for the 49ers to attack the Ravens linebackers and safeties in the passing game with tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker and with a fast running backs like LaMicheal James.  I think that’s going to be the key for the 49ers offensively to beat the Ravens.


Ravens: The Baltimore offense is led by Joe Flacco who has thrown for eight TD’s and no interceptions in three playoff games thus far.  Flacco has proved the doubters wrong about his ability to perform and win big games and is one game away from being in the “Elite” class of QB’s.  This Ravens offense has been on fire, scoring 30 points per game in the playoffs.  The one-two punch of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce have been very effective, averaging 148.2 yards during the playoffs and allowing Flacco to hit targets down the field via playaction.  Expect offensive coordinator Jim Cadwell to continue to feature the running game and take advantage of Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, and Dennis Pitta down field in the passing game.  Also, the Ravens offensive line must do a good job protecting Joe Flacco.  49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been on a sack drought lately and could have a breakout game.

Ray Lewis (l); Patrick Willis (r)










49ers: The 49ers defense is led by the two best inside linebackers in all of football, Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman.  Watching them on film is a joy, they can do it all.  They are great against the run and even better defending the pass.  What the 49ers do scheme-wise is solely on Willis and Bowman’s ability to cover tight ends, running backs, and some slot receivers effectively.  The 49ers are usually stout against the run and they must be ready for the Ravens stubborn, but effective rushing attack.  Their defensive backs must play better as well.  There were times vs the Falcons in which the safeties were caught out of position and allowed receivers to get behind them.  The Ravens passing game is predicated on getting the ball down the field.  Aldon and Justin Smith must put pressure on Ravens QB Joe Flacco and force him to make errant throws and possibly turn the ball over.

Ravens: The Ravens defense is playing its best football of the year at the right time.  During the season, Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, and obviously Terrell Suggs were all hurt and not at 100%.  But during the playoffs, they have looked like the Ravens defense of old, allowing just over 14 points per game, not counting the 14 points their special teams unit allowed to Denver on two returns.  When watching the coach’s tape, three players that aren’t household names: cornerbacks Carey Williams and Corey Graham, and Inside Linebacker Dannell Ellerbee, jumped off the screen.  Williams and Graham have been excellent in the playoffs, challenging receivers with press, man-to-man coverage and disrupting the routes and timing.  Dannell Ellerbee has been great, especially in pass coverage, covering the open areas of the field that Ray Lewis can’t at this point of his career.

Ray Lewis is obviously their emotional leader, clearly not the same player he once was, but he still gets his team in the right places pre-play and uses knowledge and smarts to make plays.  Ed Reed will definitely pose a problem for the young QB Colin Kaepernick.  He has baited the best of quarterbacks into throwing a pass they think he can’t get to, but he does.  An interception in a big spot could decide the football game.  Also, the defensive unit must play assignment, team defense when the 49ers go with their read option attack.  If everyone sticks to their assignment and guys defeat blocks and tackle, they will be fine.


Special Teams

49ers: Kicker David Akers broke an NFL record with 14 missed field goals, a year after having the best season of his career.  He’s been shaky all season and a bad performance by him could cost his team the game.  KR/PR Ted Ginn Jr. is a big play threat, and could help the offense with field position.

Ravens: Kicker Justin Hunter has been very good this season, making 21-23 field goals.  We know he’s great inside of 50 yards, but he hasn’t attempted or made a field goal outside of 50 yards all season.  This game is played indoors, which is better conditions for kickers, so he might get a shot to show us where his leg really is.

Jacoby Jones is a Pro Bowl Kick/Punt Returner and one of the league’s best.  He is not only a home run threat, but he is sure-handed as well.


Prediction: Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers are playing great football.  The move to him as QB has paid huge dividends as they are in the big game, but I think the Ravens are going to force him to win the game from the pocket.  This is the game in which Kaepernick makes a mistake or two that will give the Ravens a short field, allowing Joe Flacco to strike.  I simply trust Flacco more in big game situation and I think he leads the Ravens to the victory.  Ravens 24 49ers 23


Brandon Pemberton of Sports Trap Radio, for War Room Sports