Rice's Ali-like left jab to his then-fiancée's kisser is but a blip on the crime screen of the hoodlum-saturated National Football League. Stuff like this, and worse — much worse — has been going on at an accelerating pace since at least the late seventies.
Poor Ray just happened to get caught on tape. Heck, his "mentor" (Ray Lewis) pled guilty to obstruction of justice in a double homicide case in 2000 and got off without jail time in exchange for testifying against two friends. And now, to rub insult into the wounds of decency, he has been immortalized with a statue next to that of the legendary Johnny Unitas in front of M&T Stadium in Baltimore.
Thuggery has been a trademark in the NFL and NBA for decades. Who can forget Latrell Sprewell nearly choking his coach to death, Ron Artest ("Metta World Peace") jumping into the stands and starting a brawl with fans, Ben Roethlisberger mysteriously not being able to avoid crossing paths with women who accuse him of rape, and, of course, Aaron Hernandez, now sitting in prison awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges, to name but a few of the more infamous acts of thuggery in pro sports?
What most everyone misses is that violent acts such as these are just symptoms of an underlying condition — the decadent, thug culture in professional sports that the power structure not only allows to flourish, but encourages.