Image from Ray Rice surveillance video lands on cover of Sports Illustrated (pic)
It’s clear that Sports Illustrated is fully committed to reporting upon and addressing the Ray Rice saga in a soberly straightforward manner given the magazine has opted to use a still from the video that surfaced on Monday that shows the former Baltimore Ravens running back punching then-fiancée and now-wife in the head inside an elevator in an Atlantic City casino last February.
Of course, Rice was subsequently cut by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL as a result of the disturbing video, and the immediate aftermath and ensuing fallout is only just beginning beginning.
The issue, which will be on newsstands later this week, is previewed on SI.com in the following excerpt:
In his cover story SI senior writer Phil Taylor goes further, saying “the suddenly and appropriately harsh justice underscored after Rice’s brutality, the other major problem with this saga: the NFL’s tendency to face problems head-on only after they’ve become threats to its carefully polished public relations machine.”
“It was unclear if Goodell and his aides had seen the footage before TMZ posted it,” Taylor writes. “If they did, their failure to come down harder on Rice before the clip became an Internet staple is shameful. If they didn’t, the league is guilty at the least of some very lackadaisical investigating. The idea that the Atlantic City police department and TMZ could scoop the NFL’s vaunted security apparatus strains credulity, especially considering the lengths the league seems willing to go to stamp out excessive end zone celebrations and the tiniest infringements of its sponsor-friendly uniform policies.”
SI executive editor L. Jon Wertheim wrote about former Ravens cornerback and Rice teammate Chris Johnson, whose sister was murdered by an estranged boyfriend in 2011. Johnson, who addressed the Ravens on the issue in 2012, spoke strongly against Rice and domestic violence after seeing the casino videotape. “I don’t have respect for a man who puts his hands on a woman. At all.”
It’s certainly a provocative image, but for a story so fraught with alarming details and distressing developments, it’s arguably the only way to fairly address it. No sidestepping, no evading, just the shocking nature of it all.