ESPN's Keith Olbermann weighed in on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension on July 28.
"Keith Olbermann continued to hammer the NFL on its treatment of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, blasting the league Monday for its rationale in handing Rice a two-game suspension.
"The NFL suspended Rice after he was charged with assaulting his then fiancee (now wife) in an Atlantic City elevator in February. Rice agreed to enter a pretrial intervention program to avoid jail time. On Monday, the NFL's senior VP of Labor Policy, Adolpho Birch, went on ESPN Radio to defend against the league suspension, saying in part, 'I think it is absolutely clear to all involved that the NFL does not condone domestic violence in any way and will not tolerate it in our league. I don't know how you can reach a conclusion other than that.'
"Olbermann picked Birch's argument apart Monday, citing the fact that the NFL had the power to do more and didn't, leaned on the legal system's lack of a major punishment in crafting its own, and is under the assumption that they actually did well with the discipline.
"Mr. Birch also admitted that commissioner Goodell is not listening to the public at all,' said Olbermann. 'You, women: you're wrong. And you men, and you fans and non-fans: you're wrong. And the rest of America: you're wrong.
"Olbermann also questioned the ethics of a meeting Goodell conducted with Rice and his fiancee that may have 'poisoned' the well of evidence in the case.
"'Anyone with any experience of domestic violence knows knows that the easiest way to suppress the truth is to force the victim to tell her story in the presence of her attacker,' said Olbermann. 'It's why there are laws in all kinds of assault cases preventing such hearings.'"
Birch defended Rice's two-game suspension on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" on July 28:
"NFL senior vice president of labor policy Adolpho Birch strongly disagreed Monday that the league's two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for his domestic violence arrest was too light.
"Birch, appearing Monday morning on ESPN Radio's 'Mike and Mike,' responded to criticism via traditional and social media about the penalty, which was handed down Thursday and stems from Rice's arrest after he allegedly struck then-fiancee Janay Palmer unconscious in an Atlantic City casino hotel elevator in February.
"'Listen, I think if you are any player and you think that based on this decision that it's OK to go out and commit that kind of conduct, I think that is something that I would suggest to you that no player is going to go out and do that,' Birch said Monday.
"'So in terms of sending a message about what the league stands for, we've done that. We can talk about the degree of discipline, we can talk about whether or not third parties need to be involved. I would suggest to you that a third party has been involved in this matter and that was the court that reviewed it, the prosecutor that reviewed it.
"'But if it is a question about what the principle of the league is and what standards we stand by, that cannot be questioned. I think it is absolutely clear to all involved that the NFL does not condone domestic violence in any way and will not tolerate it in our league. I don't know how you can reach a conclusion other than that although I certainly respect the opinion.'
"In February, video of the incident surfaced online showing Rice dragging an apparently unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. The couple has since married.
"Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May."