By Ryan Goodman
Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Domestic Violence is unfortunately very much alive in our society right now, especially across the National Football League, and former Baltimore Ravens superstar running back Ray Rice is smack dab in the middle of all of it.
So much so, that Rice’s professional football career is being openly questioned to the point of a potential lifetime ban.
Rice, 27, has been cited in a video for striking his wife and knocking her unconscious. After this incident, Rice’s public image was destroyed, along with his contract with the Baltimore Ravens franchise. Many people have voiced their opinions on the situation, whether it be in newspapers, social media, or private conversation, and it seems like the general consensus is that Rice should not be allowed to play another down in the NFL.
For those of you who do not know the timeline of the incident, here it is:
- February 15th, 2014- Rice and his then fiance’, Janay Palmer, were arrested and released from jail shortly after, both receiving simple assault charges. It was known that both Rice and Palmer had some sort of physical altercation but no further evidence was noted at this point.
- February 19th- A video was released (by TMZ, of course) of Rice dragging his fiance’s unconscious body from the hotel elevator.
- March 27th- After Rice’s case was presented to a grand jury, his charges were upped to aggravated assault, which carries a prison sentence of three to five years.
- March 28th -Rice and Palmer we’re actually married. (Yes, this was ONE day after his charges were increased). That does seem a little strange, but obviously alludes to the love that they still had for each other, which definitely holds relevance to the big question.
- July 24th- Rice was only suspended two games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, which was a lighter punishment than expected.
- September 7th- One day after the Ravens first regular season game, another video surfaced (again, TMZ) of Rice clearly punching his wife square in the face and knocking her unconscious the night of the incident in the elevator.
The exact same day that this video was brought to light, the Ravens terminated Rice’s contract, effectively cutting him from their roster, and he was also suspended indefinitely by Goodell, with no definitive timeline for a possible return. Was this the end of Ray Rice’s career as we knew it?
The answer to that question is an emphatic no. Rice’s appeal to be reinstated to the National Football League was recently approved, and he is now eligible to sign with any NFL franchise.
This does not stop critics and skeptics from voicing their opinion on whether Rice should have been given a second chance.
These people are negating the opinion of his wife, Janay, which undoubtedly plays a significant role in this whole situation. Janay Rice was recently interviewed by NBC’s Matt Lauer, where she opened up on the night of the issue.
When Lauer asked Rice if there had been any past instances of violence in their relationship, she immediately responded no.
“No. Not at all. Ray knows me,” Palmer said. “And there’s no way. He knows what he would have to deal with, you know, if this was something. You know, I’m not going to sit there in silence and let something happen to me and God forbid, in front of my child, just like, let it happen? There’s no way.”
Also note that according to Rice, both of them were “highly intoxicated” and that she “slapped him in the face before he struck her.”
Both of these things obviously do not make what happened any more acceptable. But, if the victim is openly supporting the attacker, and if this truly is the only time that anything like this has ever happened between the two, than that should count for something. Add in the fact that they were still married a day after his charges were increased, and to me, it seems that all of these factors should definitely lessen people’s horrible perceptions of Ray Rice to an extent.
Rice was also described as the “nicest, most hard working, greatest guy on the team and in the community” by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.
Again, he has had no previously documented instances of violence within his relationship, not only with Janay, but with anyone. I’m not saying that people should all of a sudden accept Ray Rice completely and excuse him for his crimes he has committed. His actions were obviously extremely irrational and unjustifiable, but If I’m debating on whether Rice should get a second chance, my answer is yes.