Ray Rice Deserves A Shot At Redemption
It has been three years since Ray Rice was on a football field. It’s been a little under two years since TMZ released video footage of Rice knocking his then fiancée now wife (Janay Palmer) out cold in an Atlantic City casino elevator. The aftermath that followed saw Rice suspended, suspended again, and finally blackballed by the NFL. No team seems interested in giving the three time Pro Bowlers a second chance. The majority may agree with those teams. I do not. Ray Rice deserves his second chance.
Before I go any further a few things need to be said:
- Domestic violence should never be tolerated.
- Anyone who engages in such cowardly acts should be punished harshly.
- Everyone deserves a second chance.
- I’m a Rutgers alum and huge football fan so take that bias how you may.
With that out of the way let’s continue.
We all fuck up. Sure in hindsight we are all the Pope, but no one walking this planet can say they’ve never fucked up. Luckily for the majority of us when we do something in poor judgement it does not get broadcasted for millions to see. Not to speak in generalizations, but I’m willing to bet there are thousands of Americans who have put hands on their spouse and have still have their job. Rice has gone through hell (as he should have), paid his dues, and should now be free to return to work. He should not be semi-retired at 29 years old with ample talent left in the tank.
If you want to see if any other athletes have been involved in a domestic violence incident you don’t have to dig deep. Greg Hardy, Hope Solo, Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes, Floyd Mayweather, are all household names that have not lost their jobs due to domestic violence. All the athletes named except Hardy are still loved. Shit Jose Reyes received a standing ovation in his Mets return.
What else do those athletes have in common? None of their incidents were seen by millions. This is not to say they too should be out of work forever. It’s the opposite. They should pay the price of the crime whatever that may be and progress. If we were able to forgive the others then why can’t we move past Rice?
From day one of this story all reports (most notably ESPN’s Outside the Lines report) have said that Rice did not hide, lie, or play victim. When he spoke with Ravens brass — owner Steve Bisciotti, GM Ozzie Newsome, and head coach John Harbaugh — he told them what happened and how bad it was. When he met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell he told him how bad the situation was. The league suspended Rice for two games as a result of that before switching it to indefinitely and ultimately exile from the league in reaction to public outrage.
Since then Rice’s football career has been dormant. With ample free time on his hands Rice has become an advocate against domestic violence and has gone as far as willing to donate his entire salary to domestic violence programs. At 29 years old it’s difficult to forecast just what Rice can bring to the table.
His final NFL game was a microcosm of his final season. He tallied a measly 15 yards on six carries to cap off his worst season. He’s already carried the ball 1,430 times and taken God knows how many hits in his six NFL seasons. Maybe he peaked already. Maybe he still has one or two more seasons left in the tank. Whatever it may be let Rice find out on the field not in the court of public opinion.