Denouncing the assault is the easy part. Calling for stiffer penalties, that’s easy too, as is slamming the clueless commissioner, the wobbly owner and the most inept criminal investigation in the history of domestic abuse.
We’ve just spent a week doing all that.
But the Ray Rice saga brings up a stadium full of deeper questions for everyone involved, including those of us whose only connection to the unfolding catastrophe is loving the game of football.
Questions like: How far can an employer go when a worker causes trouble off the job? That’s an issue far beyond football and far beyond cases of alleged girlfriend abuse.
What do you say to a woman who chooses to remain with an abusive man? It’s been painful watching Janay Rice stand steadfastly with her now-husband. But no one would say a woman forfeits her right to self-determination just because of her victimhood.
How much does violence on the field promote violence off? Can the NFL really spend all season turning these men into aggression machines, then be surprised when they leave the field and keep behaving aggressively?
By cheering, how do we encourage them?
Winning is important in football and in life. But what precisely does winning not justify?
If you think the story was troubling last week, prepare for the issues to come. If you think these questions are easy to answer, you haven’t thought about them enough.
5. No safety
ASKED AND UNANSWERED
When will superstorm Sandy quit eating Long Island? How many Rocky Point bluff houses for dessert? . . . What was “the issue” with a Westbury taxi dispatcher? It must have been severe enough to tighten dispatcher background checks . . . If digital carbon-monoxide detectors are such vital lifesavers, why isn’t Brookhaven requiring them until Aug. 1, 2021? . . . You mean when middle-school kids in Port Jefferson were telling their parents, “Those are some other kid’s test scores,” that was actually the truth? How is Superintendent Ken Bossert avoiding future wrong-address mix-ups besides pointing fingers at BOCES? . . . Who’d have expected a Riverhead car dealer to become the big sponsor of today’s FDNY343 Ground-Zero-to-Montauk bike ride? Eagle Chevrolet’s Mark Calisi asks, “It’s for wounded vets — why not?” . . . Why wait for a DWI conviction? How does Nassau’s new seize-the-vehicle-at-arrest policy square with innocent-until-proven-guilty? . . . If Kathleen Rice can block vehicle-in-motion texts from proven behind-the-wheel texters, what will the Nassau DA disable next? The sneakers of fleeing felons? . . . Just because a couple of shoplifters happen to hit Victoria’s Secret at the Smith Haven Mall, will the suspects forever be tagged “the Bra and Undies Thieves”? How might that nickname serve the duo in prison?
THE NEWS IN SONG
“Boys of Fall”
LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK
How could 19 be too old for anything? Well, high-school football isn’t just anything. John Ottaunick, a senior at Oyster Bay High School, was born on June 13, 1995, making him about six weeks too old play this fall for his beloved Baymen. The 5-foot-8, 150-pounder has a great backstory: He was adopted at age 11 and came to Long Island from Siberia, Russia. Not speaking English, he was held back two grades when he arrived. But rules are rules, and the Conference IV age limits seem to be unbending, and so John couldn’t take the field Saturday against Friends Academy. But we’re cheering him and his teammates anyway. Go, Baymen! Go, John!