Does Ray Rice deserve a second chance in the NFL, after his vicious hit on his then-fiancee/now-wife Janay Palmer, and dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator?
Yes, I think he does, and I’ll explain why, in spite of the fact I’m swimming upstream against millions of people that think I’m completely wrong.
My SportsGrid counterpart, Tanya Ray Fox, makes a compelling argument for why Rice does NOT deserve a second chance, but I’ll try to explain why I disagree.
First of all, I’m completely against any violence, much less violence against a woman. But I’m also against dozens of other things, like drunk driving, dog fighting and any other senseless act that injures the innocent. Are there people for these things? Of course not. But I’m building to a point.
Secondly, I’m a fan of second chances – but not third chances. I have absolutely no problem with the Ravens not re-signing him because his thoughtless actions cost this team a lot, and giving him a job again doesn’t make sense.
Third, I’m a Janay fan. What I mean by that is – here’s a woman that has been victimized twice by the same act, but by both sides of the issues. Obviously, she was victimized physically by Rice, but she also had to deal with the fallout of her husband’s actions, which included millions of dollars lost in salary/endorsements, and becoming a pariah in the league that once lauded him.
With the understanding that there are many abuse victims that return to their abuser, it also says a lot for this couple that nothing has happened since the initial incident. I say that because the stress involved has peaked, and if he were ever to hit her again, it would break the Internet.
If the NFL gives people like Greg Hardy new contracts, after he was found guilty by a judge and sentenced to 18 months probation, then why can’t Rice get one?
If the NFL can give Ray Rice a second chance, after being indicted on murder charges for the stabbing deaths of two people after Super Bowl XXXIV, then why can’t Rice get one?
If Mike Tyson can somehow turn into a funny character that we feel sorry for after the loss of his child, even though he was a convicted rapist, then why can’t Rice get one?
(I’m not going to compare Rice’s act with Michael Vick’s, who went to prison for running a dog-fighting ring, only because that’s a disservice to human abuse victims everywhere. I’m a dog lover, but this is not even close.)
My point is – Rice has done everything right since this all happened (while the NFL has done absolutely everything wrong), yet no one will sign him because it’s a public relations nightmare for protestors.
America is all about second chances – even though social media is very much NOT about second chances.
So I’ve chosen five NFL teams I think should consider signing Ray Rice this summer and bring him to camp. (Don’t believe the hype that he’s washed up and over the hill. His last full season (2013) was a huge disappointment, but he played through a torn quadriceps from Week 2 that affected him all season.)
Is signing Rice a huge PR headache? Of course, but it’s also something that should be taken on after due diligence is done. We never know when we ourselves might need a second chance for a horrible decision that we’ve made that hurt someone. My brother killed someone drunk driving, served 11 years in prison, and is now one of the best people I know.
Older people should be cautious about throwing stones because they’ve likely made thousands of mistakes no one knows about, and younger people should be cautious as well, because they’ve not yet had the chance to make huge mistakes.
6 NFL Teams That Should Sign Ray Rice
The teams I picked aren’t just ones that need a running back. These are teams that could help Rice and Mrs. Rice, and are strong enough to stand up against media and opposing entities, including protesting fans.
Ray Rice Photo Credit: Larry French, Getty Images