A South African judge this week found runner Oscar Pistorius guilty of killing his girlfriend. Despite that verdict, the International Paralympic Committee rules that he can still compete in the 2016 games. On the other hand, American football player Ray Rice, who punched a woman in an Atlantic City elevator, endures an indefinite ban from the NFL.
Pistorius, the double amputee who became famous as “the Blade Runner” for galloping on his prostheses, escaped a premeditated murder conviction for firing a pistol through a bathroom door and killing his girlfriend in 2013. The judge ruled that the athlete killed 20-year-old Reeva Steenkamp by accident. But the court still found him “guilty of culpable homicide” this week.
In the upcoming sentencing phase, Pistorius could be sentenced to anything from time served to life in prison.
But even after these court rulings, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has decided that Pistorius can compete in its 2016 games in Rio. The committee told the BBC that it “wouldn’t stand in his way” if he wanted to compete. IPC spokesperson Craig Spence said that if Pistorius served his sentence then that was all the committee was concerned with.
Contrast the leniency afforded to Pistorius with the treatment running back Ray Rice received during the same week.
Rice’s February 15 left hook to his girlfriend’s face eventually led to his arrest and indictment for third-degree aggravated assault. The state dropped the charges when Rice agreed to court-supervised counseling through a pre-trial diversion program. Janay did not press charges and soon married the player. The NFL punished Rice with a two-game suspension for hitting his then girlfriend.
But just as Rice may have thought his troubles over, TMZ released a second video earlier this week that actually showed him brutally punching Janay and knocking her to the floor of the elevator. Once that video went viral, and public outrage grew, the NFL revisited the three-time Pro Bowler’s punishment and meted out an indefinite suspension. The Baltimore Ravens quickly cut Rice, costing the veteran at least $10 million.
On the other side of the world, a man with no legs may walk free. If only TMZ had captured closed-circuit cameras capturing Oscar Pistorius killing a woman, the Blade Runner might be less South Africa’s O.J. Simpson and more its Ray Rice times ten.
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