Heidi Heitkamp Grandstands On Ray Rice Fiasco


We’ve all seen the ugly video of (former?) NFL player Ray Rice hitting his fiancee in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino, and then carrying her unconscious body into the hall. It’s generated a lot of debate about the way the NFL has handled the situation.

Injecting herself into the debate is North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who says the commissioner of the NFL ought to consider retiring over the handling of Rice’s suspension.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should “seriously” consider resigning because of the way the league handled penalizing former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice.

“I think he should consider it seriously,” Heitkamp said when asked by ITK Tuesday if Goodell should step down.

Heitkamp’s remarks are among the strongest so far from lawmakers calling for Goodell to vacate his position.

I’m not much of a football fan, but from what I’ve gathered from media reports Rice was originally subject to a two-game suspension after being charged with a felony for hitting his fiancee. Rice was not given any team punishment, apparently. Now that the video is public, the NFL as upped the punishment to an indefinite suspension, and the Baltimore Ravens have not only cut Rice but are offering fans a free jersey for trading in one of his jerseys.

The obvious question is if what Rice did was so bad, why didn’t he get the stiffer punishment before the video came out? The facts of the case were known and not really in dispute. The release of the video to the public really changes nothing other than the public’s perception of the case. Meaning that the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens seem to have been basing their reaction to Rice’s attack on his fiancee less on the facts than on the public’s perception of it.

Which seems awfully cynical, and trivializes a serious crime.

But really, what does any of this have to do with Heid Heitkamp? She’s a public figure, sure, and can certainly weigh in on whatever she likes. But is anyone else a little tired of grandstanding politicians rushing to the media to express their indignancy at some hot topic in the news?

Is Heitkamp speaking out really about Ray Rice? Or is this another ploy to get her name in the papers?

If there’s one thing we know about Senator Heitkamp, it’s that she loves seeing her name in the headlines. But maybe the Senator ought to worry a little less about how the NFL is being run, and a little more about how the country is being run.