Wednesday, September 10, 2014


This is not to excuse Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice in any way for an appalling act of violence directed against his fiancée, soon to be his wife.  He should be held to account, and has been, mightily, and appropriately.

It is now, however, beyond appropriate punishment.  He has become the scapegoat for an entire organization that profits from and champions violence, and is now desperate to redeem itself in the eyes of a public whose approval it needs to save its own face.  Aided and abetted by the media, both the national organization and the team for which Rice played--not to mention team-mates and fans--are piling on to this single player in a way that causes more grief to himself and his wife than even his despicable action deserves.  A solitary and, yes, inexcusably violent offender has now become the victim for those seeking to exculpate themselves by punishing him.

Buddhism teaches compassion.  No exceptions.  It's hard, sometimes--no, often, these days--to practice compassion in a world that seems filled with violence and hatred.  Try doing it for people who cut off other people's heads.  Still, compassion and exculpation are two different things.  It's possible to feel compassion and yet hold someone accountable for their actions.  The practice of compassion means that I don't have to drink from the same cup of poison as those whose behavior I condemn; but it does not release me from the responsibility to look into my own heart and root out the anger and the potential for violence that I find there.

Those who so eagerly point fingers at Ray Rice should take care the finger does not point back at them.

No comments: