Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who last year dragged his fiancée out of an elevator after he knocked her unconscious, has shared some new thoughts on domestic abuse. This morning, Rice went on WFAN’s Boomer & Carton Show. After beginning the interview by mentioning that he is in football shape and is simply waiting for a call from an NFL team, he offered Greg Hardy some advice.
“One thing I would encourage Greg is to take a deeper look into what the severity of domestic violence is,” he said, after claiming that he himself had undergone “total rehabilitation.”
This is similar to the an interview he did with SportCenter’s Hannah Storm earlier this month, when Rice was asked about the injuries sustained by Nicole Holder, Hardy’s ex-girlfriend.
Rice mentioned that he wants to work with the NFL to speak to young players in an effort to bring awareness to domestic violence issues in the league and elsewhere:
It really shouldn’t take photos or anything to understand the severity of domestic violence. It does continue to raise awareness. It’s just a tough deal that it takes a visual for the severity to be known. Condolences go out to the survivors of domestic violence.
The allegedly reformed and morally enlightened Rice has been embarked on quite the redemption tour for a while now. He’s let his fiancée take some of the heat for getting herself knocked out, and so seeing him use Hardy as an opportunity to promote himself is not surprising. That doesn’t make it any less nauseating.
As a reminder: Not only did the NFL and the establishment NFL media shield Rice, he dutifully showed regret (much like Hardy is doing now), and acted humbled by his slap on the wrist. He followed the classic four-act structure for getting off easy, including the particularly dastardly part where he sat next to his fiancée as she apologized for getting herself knocked out. He thought it would work. It usually does in domestic violence cases.
It’s telling that he got the SportsCenter interview, on an NFL Sunday of all days, and telling that it played as good PR for both him and the NFL. The interview was barely even about Hardy at all. It played more as an example of Roger Goodell’s justice working, with Rice getting to explain that he’s changed and ask for an opportunity. Everyone involved wins.
If this all feels too quick, too easy, too tidy, that’s because it is. There’s a reason why domestic abuse is often talked about as a cycle of violence, one that rarely involves only one incident. One football season later, though, here’s Rice holding himself out as a model citizen and an authority on the issue and essentially using his newfound expertise as part of a public job pitch. If anything, he seems to be trying to sell the idea that having him on your team would be a good PR move, because, at this point, that’s all he has. He’s an aging running back who averaged 3.1 yards a carry his last season in the league. His career was cut short due to a horrific night, and now he’s hoping to use that horrific night as, of all things, a springboard back into that career.
Yes, Rice is human, capable of change, and perhaps he truly is becoming a better man. If it’s true that he has broken the cycle of violence in his own relationship, he should be applauded for that, especially because it’s an incredibly difficult thing to do. Why he would think he is entitled to use Nicole Holder’s body to kickstart his re-entry into the NFL is an open question.
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