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Kevin Price: NFL sends bad message in Ray Rice case

The National Football League and commissioner Roger Goodell had a chance to send a strong message Thursday when the suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was announced.

Instead, Goodell and the league failed miserably.

Rice was caught on a security camera at an Atlantic City casino earlier this year, dragging his then-fiancée out of an elevator. She appeared to be unconscious.

He drug her out and left her face down two-thirds of the way out of the elevator.

Later, it was found out that Rice punched her and knocked her out before dragging her out of the elevator.

There is no reason for a man to put his hand on a woman in a violent way like that.

Let me repeat, there is no justification for what he did.

Here is a player who gets it:

"No one should put his hands on a woman," Calvin Pryor, the New York Jets' first-round draft pick, told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. "That's the way I was raised."

Rice was charged with felony assault but was accepted into a diversion program, which means the charge will be wiped off his record if he completes the program.

As for his suspension, Rice received two games, meaning he will miss the Ravens' first two games of the season.

There is a school of thought out there that Goodell gave Rice a break since this is his first time in trouble with the league.

When compared to the suspension that other first-time offenders have gotten that excuse rings hollow:

Jake Knott, four games, performance enhancing drugs.

Stedman Bailey, four games, PEDs.

Robert Mathis, four games, PEDs.

Basically, by their actions in suspending Rice for half the time those three received, the NFL is letting you know that taking performance enhancing drugs is worse than domestic violence.

Here is another case that makes the NFL look even worse:

Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor received a five-game suspension when he entered the NFL. His transgression? He traded some memorabilia for tattoos while he was in college in 2011.

That's worse than knocking out a woman?

Rice may have also gotten a break for the reason that he is a star player.

While he is not the back he was a couple of years ago, he still is one of the best in the league.

There is no doubt that talent is taken into consideration when punishment is handed out.

And that goes for all professions, not just the NFL. If you are good at your job, you can get away with something that your less talented co-worker wouldn't be able to.

But whatever the reason for such a slight punishment given Rice, Goodell and the NFL failed in a major way.