It is common knowledge that Rice has been suspended by the NFL and more importantly, released by the Ravens. Rice will have to apply for reinstatement. He is all but assured that he will not play in 2014, even if he thought about the Canadian Football League. The CFL has go on the record that they will honor the NFLs suspension of Rice. Nike has dropped him, EA Sports has removed him from Madden ’15 and others are following suit.
Ray Rice is the current pariah of the NFL and joins the likes of Adam “Pacman” Jones and Michael Vick as poster children for the down side of the human spirit. Will he fade away into nothing or can he take a page from Michael Vick going forward?
Product of his environment?
Frankly I am sick of the phrase “Product of their environment” and how often it is thrown around by the masses to justify a poor decision or string of decisions made. In the case of Ray Rice, he clearly did not have an easy life; his father was killed in inadvertent gunfire where he was not the target, he lost an aunt to brain cancer and another close to him in a car accident. However, the incident and the nonchalance he used throughout the incident just provide a window into a cold soul. He knocked his wife out, tried to drag her out of the elevator (giving up half way thru the door), kicked her to try and get her legs out, stood around like it was no big deal, and the breakdown can go on and on. The more i watch the video, the more issues I find with his actions at every turn.
This mentality and resulting action are not a result of growing up in New Rochelle, New York. They are not the result of a poor father figure. Rice did not grow up with a mother in abusive relationships, in fact, Shawn, who served as a father figure to Rice, was a stand-up, love all type of person. He unfortunately lost his life to soon. The actions of Ray Rice are the result of a person who does not respect women, does not respect the law and frankly is just missing a part of the brain that many in the world already have. You know that part of the brain, it is where basic human decency comes from. It is just who he is.
At its heart, the way to describe what happened that night is not overly complex. In fact, it comes down to this. Ray Rice is not a good person and the video that night backs that up. It was not his environment that caused him to be this way. In the NFL alone there are hundreds of people that had it worse than Rice, they understand what life is and what it means. There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country alone that grew up in the same, if not worse, surroundings as Rice and they managed to get through the day without knocking out the love of their lives.
For other opinion on the topic of Ray Rice being a “product of his environment,” you can read Is Ray Rice a product of his environment? Do players like him, ever change?
The Future | What’s Next
Ray Rice might need to talk with Michael Vick, assuming Vick will take his calls. I know there is a clear difference in the minds of many in modern society between dog fighting and domestic abuse. But to me, in simple terms, abuse is abuse even if one a more vile crime. Before you leave comments like “How dare you compare dog fighting with a man beating his wife” or “What person tries to diminish the severity of domestic abuse,” understand the following. There is no excuse for ever raising a hand to a woman, period. I am not stating the two are identical but the Vick case does give Ray Rice a plan to execute.
Michael Vick was the pariah of the NFL and had legions of animal rights activists, pet lovers and fans alike joining forces in an immense hatred. Vick faced almost two years in prison and found his way back to the NFL. He became a leader in the animal rights movement and actually reached out to organizations in an attempt to atone for his actions. A similar mindset will need to be employed by Rice.
Rice will need to make reparations for the vile incident that occurred in the elevator. Even if he can convince one or two of the 32 NFL franchises that he has changed, he will still need to show any team that he is not washed up. Last season, Rice had his worst statistical season since becoming the starter in Baltimore. At one point, Rice had over 1,600 yards from scrimmage but last year he only managed 981. When you factor in his age, approaching the “running back wall” in the NFL, and his declining performance, it is hard to think there are many teams that will give him a shot. But he only needs one to take a chance if he be reinstated.
Can Ray Rice change? Can he ever play in the NFL again? I believe anyone can change but I also believe that very few will change. It takes a consensus effort to change and a fundamental understanding that they are wrong. Once it is clear to the person that they are wrong and need help, the process can begin. It will always be unclear if Ray Rice is truly sorry and if he really understands just how wrong he was.
He has a rational to promote change. He is not the only one hurt by this incident. His wife, who suffered at his hand and foot previously, now joins Rice in suffering monetarily. Only time will tell how this will play out but one thing is for sure, it was not his environment that created the situation.