Ray Rice. (Photo via Getty Images)
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What Ray Rice and Dock Ellis Tell Us About American Politics

It is a sign of progress that in 2014 domestic violence is seen as a far more serious problem for professional sports, and anywhere else, than the use of recreational drugs. Ellis is now understood as a man who struggle with addiction, but did not hurt anybody other than himself, while Rice is broadly viewed as a violent offender who should not be enjoying the life of a star professional athlete. A generation ago it would have been hard to imagine a ballplayer who committed domestic violence being punished in the way Rice was, or of a Dock Ellis’s extraordinary accomplishment being so publicly celebrated. Although there is clearly much progress still to be made, this is a reflection of what has changed in the U.S. in the more than 40 years since Ellis held the hapless San Diego Padres hitless.

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