On Thursday, the biggest question of the Ravens offseason was finally answered by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season (Bengals and Steelers) and will forfeit $529,411 between missed game checks and fines stemming from a domestic situation this past February in Atlantic City, N.J., where he and his fiancée (now wife) were arrested.
Given Goodell's long arm of the law, only receiving a two-game suspension for something as serious as domestic violence seems to be on the lighter side of punishments Rice could have expected. There was no way Rice would escape this without a suspension, but given the circumstances, this seems like a best-case scenario for both Rice and the Ravens.
However, what if Rice appeals his suspension? Could it send the wrong message?
Just as it's allowed in all major sports, Rice is entitled to appeal his suspension if he is inclined to do so. I have no indication to believe that he'll actually appeal this suspension, but thinking about the possibility that it might happen is something that should be considered. If you're Rice or anyone advising him, you're certainly not happy about missing games or almost $500,000 from your bank account, but I'm sure they realize it could have been a lot worse.
Had Rice received a suspension of four games or greater, I could understand appealing because of the magnitude of games he'd be missing. If the ruling was worse than what it actually was, I'm sure everyone would be delighted with a reduction to two games.
At this point, Rice's image cannot afford any additional negative backlash and I think that's exactly what he'd get if he were to appeal his suspension and try to reduce it to a single game. Trust me, I've gotten to know Rice enough to understand that he's the least selfish person you'd ever meet. But I personally think an appeal would look as if he's ungrateful.
Appeals are part of the process these days but I hope that it's one that Rice chooses to bypass. He should serve his suspension and unleash hell on the gridiron come Week 3 against the Browns. At this point, staying out of the spotlight is key and all an appeal would do is call more attention to an already embarrassing situation for all of those involved.