It is the holiday season, and this is the time we tend to think of giving. To be an effective giver, you have to have something to give. The National Football League has just given Ray Rice the gift of reinstatement. Mister Rice, once the bane of the league's existence, could be out on the field making a paycheck doing the thing that he was doing before things got ugly: playing football. He might even end up on a team that gets to go to the playoffs. That's an extra check. Or two. Is that justice? Maybe with the small "j." The kind of justice that acknowledges just how ineptly his case was handled by his once and future boss, Roger Goodell.
He won't be playing for the Baltimore Ravens. That ship has sailed. That leaves thirty-one other cities that might be interested in Ray Rice's services. He's got options. As it turns out, he might be getting some competition from another former star: Adrian Peterson. The same loophole through which wife-puncher Rice squeezed may offer an opening for kid-switcher Peterson. All the righteous indignation the nation felt a couple of months ago seems to have drifted away. It's the holidays. It's the playoffs. Isn't there a way that we can all end up feeling good about this?
In a country that makes a celebration of shopping, what else would we expect? To the victor goes the spoils. Stirring, really. The unemployment rate continues to go down, so Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson are part of that statistic, I suppose. That number will be mitigated somewhat by developments in Ferguson, Missouri where they just cut loose one of their police officers. In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, city officials say that Darren Wilson will not be receiving any severance package upon resigning from his job as a cop in that troubled suburban enclave. Former officer Wilson said he left the force because of death threats he has received. If your job is to serve and protect, it tends to undercut the process if you're more concerned with protecting yourself. By contrast, Ray Rice used to receive death threats from "fans" who had him on their fantasy football teams. Not the same thing, but interesting for discussion purposes.
In the meantime, we wait for the wheels to churn. Slowly. Maybe the NFL will offer Darren Wilson a job. Sense will come from this mess. That's my job.