Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens received a standing ovation from fans when he appeared Monday at practice.

They, at least, were able to stand. No so Mr. Rice's then-fianceƩ, Jayna Palmer. As the infamous Feb. 15 security video from an Atlantic City hotel shows, she fell face-first out of an elevator after Mr. Rice punched her in the face and knocked her out cold.

In a pathetically weak response, the NFL this week suspended Mr. Rice for the first two games of the regular season. Even ESPN, an NFL sycophant, suspended commentator Stephen A. Smith for a week after his nonsensical assertion that women should not "provoke" abuse. That's the equivalent of seven games, even though Mr. Smith didn't actually assault anyone.

The assault charge against Mr. Rice will be dismissed if he completes court-required counseling and so on. And Ms. Palmer, the mother of Mr. Rice's child, since has married him.

But this isn't simply about personal redemption. It's about deterrence. The NFL's weak response does nothing to stem violence committed off the field by too many players.

The league tries to woo women fans, who comprise 45 percent of its fan base. It promotes and contributes heavily to breast cancer research and markets directly to women. It should prove it's serious by punishing players who use women as punching bags.