This past week at the Raven’s Rookie mini-camp, Ray Rice visited and talked with the new kids in the NFL. He told them his story, the risks, the rewards. To not take things for granted. To truly fight for the right thing.
The Baltimore Raven’s twitter account released a statement, most likely to those still disgusted by Rice’s actions: “Our 27 sessions to our rookies through our player engagement program review and teach life management and life lessons. Rice, who played for the Ravens from 2008-2014, delivered an important message that included his story, both the good and the bad. He clearly had the attention of our rookies.” Hopefully the story and warnings he passed were taken to heart by the young players. At one point Rice was considered the best in the league, now he’s on his couch.
I personally love the move. Ray Rice did a piece of shit thing. He beat his fiancee. Knocked her unconscious and dragged her body out of an elevator. Yet he admitted his faults. Consoled his wife. Went to consoling. Worked hundreds of hours with anti-domestic violence groups. He was then later backed by those extremely effective anti-domestic violence groups as a changed man. Women in those groups said they would trust him with their lives. He then got married to that same women. Who has forgiven him. She pleaded with teams to give him another shot. Yet after all that recovery, after countless people pleading for him to get a second chance. He’s been sitting at home ever since.
That’s a message that needs to be delivered to these young kids. Hell I’m twenty years old and I still can’t grasp how serious public relations are to these massive companies. This isn’t a Greg Hardy situation. Ray went through a rehabilitation process. As bad as it was, one punch ended everything this man worked for throughout his entire life. One bad decision, that took 2 seconds to follow through on, ended it all. If he doesn’t throw that punch, we could be talking about Rice as an MVP or even just a good running back. That’s got to get through these kids heads, especially as the younger generations seem to lack massive amounts of respect and common sense. Hell look at Josh Gordan and Johnny Football. They just were partying and they can’t get a job again in the NFL.
To sum it all up. If you don’t like the move and don’t like Ray Rice, that’s fine and totally up to you. I choose to believe Rice is a changed man and that his story can really make a difference in these kids lives. Maybe his story makes them think for that one second to stop themselves from making a horrible decision. Even if it accomplishes nothing, there can be no harm in raising awareness. At the end of the day, it’s good to see at least one NFL team trying to get the message across early. One bad decision can ruin your whole life.