Officials: Rice domestic violence case 'not handled well'

Published: Dec. 2, 2014 at 12:25 AM EST|Updated: Oct. 20, 2017 at 4:10 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Janay Rice could be found on television sets across the nation defending her husband's action on the "Today" show on Monday morning.

In her interview, Janay says she refuses to watch the infamous surveillance video where her husband punches her in an Atlantic City hotel elevator before dragging her unconscious body out of it.

Following the video's release, Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended by the National Football League for two games. The league later changed the ruling and suspended the former Rutgers star indefinitely.

"I think what it really shows is that the NFL did not understand the seriousness of domestic violence," said Sara Barber of the SC Coalition against Domestic Violence. "(They) did not handle the original situation well and then tried to dig themselves out later."

Recently, an appeals court ruled that Rice can return to professional football and sign with any team of his choice. Some clearly feel if Rice wasn't a professional athlete, things would have turned out much differently.

"The bottom line is a lot of people, especially if it were to happen at that high level of visibility, would have 'been locked away and thrown away the key,'" said Richard Barr of the SC Center for Fathers and Families.

Rice initially faced an indictment for aggravated assault following the incident on the elevator back in February. However, he did sign an agreement postponing the charge provided he attended anger management counseling for a year.

Domestic violence counselors also feel a bigger statement will be made on this if a team signs Rice. At this point, it's not clear if or when that will happen.

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