NOT BUYING IT: Ray Rice Wants To Join NFL Team So He Can “End It The Right Way”
Ray Rice is to domestic violence among professional athletes what Michael Vick was to dog fighting, Since he was caught on video punching out his then-fiancee and dragging her limp body out of an elevator at an Atlantic city casino, Rice has taken Vick's crown as the fallen, superstar looking for moral redemption.
The only difference is that Vick served a nearly two year prison sentence for his crimes, and Rice was never put behind bars. And although his wife may have forgiven him for threatening her life and treating her like a punching bag, America very much has not.
So the bigger question remains: does Rice deserve to be forgiven?
If his latest attempt to re-join the NFL is any indication, then he believes that he does. In an interview with Tom Pelissero at USA Today Sports, the 29-year-old explained that he would donate his entire NFL salary to domestic violence programs if an NFL team were to sign him.
“All the scrutiny that I’ve got, it was deserved, because domestic violence is a horrible thing.
“Me donating my salary is something that’ll be from the heart for me. I only want to play football so I can end it the right way for my kids and for the people that really believed in me. But I know there’s a lot of people affected by domestic violence, and every dollar helps. It’s raising awareness.
“People need homes. People need shelter when they’re in a crucial situation. I’ve donated a lot of money to charities, but I had a situation where it was a national crisis. I’m not saying I’d be (donating the salary) to get on the field, but it’s something that will show where my heart is. My heart is about finishing the right way and helping people along the way.”
So what does any of this really mean? Rice is lucky he didn't go to jail. He's lucky that his family stood by him. And by all accounts, he regrets his behavior; although whether or not he has addressed the actual issues behind the behavior remains a mystery. And everyone, no matter what kind of mistake they have made, should be granted the opportunity to make it right.
But does his chance to play football again really make anything right?
No, it doesn't. There is no situation in which Rice returning to the football field does anything for anyone other than him and his ego. The story he tells about want to "end it the right way" for his kids and the people who believed in him is just a veiled excuse to get back at the thing that brought him fame and fortune. Any good psychologist would tell him that getting back to football would be for him; not for his family. And quite frankly, putting himself back in that environment could have devastating consequences on any progress that he's made.
Because the thing is, you don't just wake up one morning in a bad mood and do what Ray Rice did to Janay Palmer on February 14, 2014. That is the behavior of a man who needs to make serious life changes, beginning with cutting ties to the violence and entitlement of the NFL; which is something he was obviously ill-equipped to handle.
You know how you make things right for your kids and the people who believed in you? You give back to the community as often as possible. You spend time talking to doctors and therapists about the rage that fueled your brutal attack on the mother of your daughter. You spend time working on yourself and rebuilding the broken trust in the relationships that were affected by your behavior. And maybe he is doing all of that, but he has to do all of that for a lot longer than a couple of missed football seasons.
Anyone who's have been through a trauma on that level with a family member or close friend can confidently say that the only way to make things right is to make significant personal growth and change every single day for a long time, until the trust is restored.
It's understandable that Rice wants to get back to football, since most professional athletes struggle with life post-retirement. Particularly when it's a forced, premature retirement. Unfortunately, his bid to get back into the NFL after a relatively short amount of time addressing his issues is insulting to the victims of domestic violence that he claims he's trying to help.
Stay home, Ray. Stay away from football. Work directly with abuse victims and shelters and contribute your money and your time. And if you aren't going to do that, don't sell us a bill of goods about how you want to do this for your family. A return to football would be the most selfish thing you could do.
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