Recently, there have been more and more stories written about Ray Rice. It’s precisely what we knew would transpire at one point or another — the opportunity for a second chance. It was bound to transpire, especially for a player as talented as Ray Rice once was.
It’s been two years since Ray Rice last suited up for an NFL team and he is now 29 years old. Times have changed and Ray Rice went from being the starting running back for the Baltimore Ravens to the face of domestic violence overnight. However, despite the video and the lies, people still think that he should be reinstated in the NFL.
People think that Ray Rice has repented for his actions and that he deserves a chance at redeeming himself. This seems like it’s too far fetched to be the truth, but it is. It’s disturbing, but our Twitter account for Spark Sports ran a poll asking our fans if Ray Rice should be given a second chance.
Here are the results:
He used his power horribly, but should Ray Rice be given a second chance like other players? ?
Like: No pic.twitter.com/UteChIKKIA
— Spark Sports (@Spark_Sports_) August 10, 2016
By a landslide, people think Ray Rice should be allowed back in the league. Those who support Rice have their reasons and I’ll be honest, those reasons are disturbing to see being used in 2016.
The reasons supporters use are repulsive, sickening, and downright wrong. For starters, let’s take a look at the repulsive and sickening.
“She hit him first!”
I’ve seen this excuse everywhere Ray Rice is talked about, and it’s always so disheartening to see this actually being used. There are cases happening in this country right now, where people are using this as an argument to justify their actions, and it’s wrong.
People are trying to make the Ray Rice story about equal rights for males and how men have no control anymore. But it’s tough to argue that when the man in question is Ray Rice. The football player who has more than likely endured his fair amount of frustration with coaches, concussions, broken bones, and dehydration.
Ray Rice can hold all his anger back from his coaches who have worked him like an animal for multiple years, but he can’t hold back his frustration when a woman, who is more than likely not as strong as him, is hitting him? Additionally, it’s not just any woman, it’s his fiancee!
Ray Rice is a football player, and I know for a fact that half of us would not dare try to fight a football player because they could rip us to shreds. Football players are damn powerful, and a woman, who isn’t as strong as him, hits him and he needs to defend himself? How is it that Ray Rice can endure punishment from angry coaches but not an angry fiancee?
I can guarantee that Ray Rice has endured far worse in his life. Coaches constantly yelling at telling him that he isn’t good enough, or he needs to run faster or else the team is running another lap or doing more sit ups. I can assure you that Ray Rice has endured more punishment from football than he ever has from Janay Rice, even in that elevator.
For obvious reasons, let’s look at what set Ray Rice apart from the rest of us. Undoubtedly, Ray Rice has to be stronger than most of us since he’s a football player. He probably has a lot of mental strength as well considering how well he handled himself with media following a bad game or a tragic loss.
In fact, let’s look at his combine profile, and keep in mind that this was back in 2007, before Ray Rice had truly perfected his craft. This is how scouts described Ray Rice:
“Short, but extremely thick with a muscular frame, much more powerful than his height makes seem possible.” – NFL.com
To put some icing on this terrible cake, let’s take a look at his combine numbers from 2007.
|40 Yard Dash:||4.42 seconds|
|20 Yard Dash:||2.52 seconds|
|10 Yard Dash:||1.47 seconds|
|Bench Press:||23 reps (225 lb)|
|Vertical Leap:||31.5 inches|
|Broad Jump:||119 inches|
|20 Yd Shuttle:||4.20 seconds|
|Three Cone:||6.65 seconds|
|60 Yd Shuttle:||(N/A) seconds|
This man is not a joke, he’s extremely strong and has put countless hours into playing football. He’s clearly not like the rest of us. While some of us may like to act like we’re tough and strong, Ray Rice is legitimately as strong as many of us may like to think we are.
Meanwhile, it’s safe to say that Janay Rice is the average woman. She has never played a sport, and she has barely had to handle herself a certain way because she has never really been on the media’s radar. But Ray Rice couldn’t control himself around a woman who is safe to assume is simply like the rest of us?
People have also said that Rice acted because it was in the moment, which is understandable if you’re not trained to be in that position. But Ray Rice has been in that position! Reporters have yelled at him, coaches have yelled at him, and teammates have yelled at him. But this one time, is the time that Rice had to lash out, and to defend himself nonetheless.
To make a statement like that would be intolerable and downright absurd. Ray Rice had no reason to hit Janay and it’s as simple as that. If you defend Ray Rice and his actions, you have your reasons, and this may be one of them. You can deny everything as much as you like, but you and I can’t and shouldn’t get away with hitting women, and neither should Ray Rice.
“But Michael Vick and Ray Lewis were allowed back in!”
This may be the most disheartening excuse to see coming from people, mainly because their facts about the two situations are more than likely incorrect. I get it, Twitter is the land of people having the right to voice their opinion but comparing Ray Rice to Vick and Lewis seems a tad bit implausible.
Just as an example, here are some of the tweets that we received. Some tweets are a little bit more “outspoken” than others. But just to clarify, all these people retweeted the original Ray Rice tweet, meaning that they are in support of Ray Rice returning to the league. Take a look at them.
— Marc C. Kollar (@RUNYYFan) August 11, 2016
@Spark_Sports_ Give Ray Rice another chance! Ray Lewis killed someone,Pac Man Jones shot up a club on video,left man paralyzed! Both in Nfl
— CHOP (@Ruknighttime) August 11, 2016
First of all, Ray Lewis has been proven innocent of what he did. Nobody can deny that the case is a convoluted mess and that there are a lot of misconceptions about it, but a lot of what we know can only lead to one conclusion: Ray Lewis was innocent.
In order for Ray Lewis to have killed Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, there are a lot of things that would’ve needed to have changed about that fateful night. The victim’s groups told very different stories than what Lewis said and it’s safe to say nowadays that Lewis’ story is less flimsy and has more substance to it.
Sure, Ray Lewis didn’t kill Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, and he didn’t really help them, but it wasn’t because he was a good samaritan who felt like he was dishing out true justice, it was because he thought it would hurt his chances of becoming an NFL player.
Believe me, Ray Lewis didn’t kill those two people, but he is anything but a saint. Sure, he turned on his friends during the trial and even testified AGAINST them, which was a sneaky move if I may add. But he didn’t commit those murders, and that’s a fact.
But even if he did kill Baker and Lollar, are people saying that it’s okay? Let’s say that Ray Lewis did actually commit those murders and he was reinstated back in. Do you not find this to be a problem? By allowing Ray Lewis back in the league, we are empowering the abusers and not the victims.
If Ray Lewis had killed Baker and Lollar and he were reinstated, the league would basically be telling their athletes that anything they do is fine and there won’t be any consequences! Even something as far as murder! I think we can all agree that murder is a whole different story and the league wouldn’t want that on their backs.
It would have been a disgrace if the league had reinstated Lewis knowing that he was guilty of murder. But if he did commit murder and you want to use him as an excuse for Ray Rice getting a second chance, then that’s messed up.
Ray Lewis should have never been reinstated if he legitimately killed two people. But he didn’t, so don’t use him as an excuse for Ray Rice because the evidence is simply not there.
Secondly, people brought up Michael Vick. Personally, this one hurts considering the fact that I was a huge fan of Michael Vick prior to everything that happened with the dog fighting accusations. It was a tough story for me to swallow because I at first was suckered into believing Vick like people are believing Rice.
But there’s a clear difference between the two, and it’s the aftermath of Vick’s story that makes him worthy of a second chance.
Michael Vick is now an advocate against dog violence and is now an owner of a happy and healthy dog. As a person who loves dogs to death, it’s hard to forgive Michael Vick for what he’s done and how many innocent animals he’s hurt, but he’s given back.
He’s given money to charities to fight against the abuse of dogs, and he gave up prime years of his career to be in prison. Michael Vick made his bed, and he laid in it. He paid back for what he did unlike Ray Rice.
I can already hear the supporters saying that Ray Rice vows to give his entire salary to domestic violence organizations but that’s the problem. Ray Rice will only do it if he gets signed. Ray Rice will only give money to charity if we coddle him and tell him that everything he did was acceptable. In case you haven’t noticed, Ray Rice still has yet to donate any money to charities for domestic violence! Ray Rice has not repented for the things he’s done!
The moment Vick got caught for what he did, he went to jail and took two years of his professional career with him. He could’ve easily been bailed out, he had the money to be bailed out of prison. But he wasn’t because he knew what he did was wrong and that he should be punished for it. Michael Vick genuinely paid for his crimes.
Ray Rice on the other hand has fought to try and get back in the league and will only donate money to charity if we tell him that hitting women is okay!
Vick knew what he did was wrong and he paid the price for it by giving time out of his career. That of which Rice is apparently very fond of in this situation. In an interview with CBS Sports, Ray Rice was quoted as saying the following.
“I think the biggest donation that you can give to domestic violence is your time.”
Well then Ray, you’ve made your bed. Now lie in it. Because, if you really think that the biggest donation you can give to domestic violence is your time, then give it to them by never returning to the NFL.
However, regarding Adam “Pacman” Jones, Greg Hardy, etc., using those guys as an excuse for Ray Rice is disturbing. Let’s act like Ray Lewis killed two people and Michael Vick never paid back for his actions. By using these men as an excuse, you’re saying that you know that “Pacman” Jones started the altercation that began the club shooting, you know that Greg Hardy abused Nicole Horder, you know that Michael Vick abused dogs, you know that Ray Lewis killed two people, and you’re okay with it. But that’s the problem.
These men are not role models, if anything they’re the opposite. By comparing Ray Rice to them, the argument only dies more and more since all these guys have been involved in terrible things. Ray Rice has been involved in something that is unforgivable. Domestic violence is not to be take lightly, and if we allow this to slide like we let Greg Hardy slide then we’re not empowering the victims. We’re empowering the abusers.
This Cannot Happen Anymore
For far too long, we have allowed athletes to do whatever they want and walk away scot-free. Ray Rice will not be one of those men, because we cannot allow him to be one of those men.
The actions that he committed are simply irredeemable. There is nothing that this man can do to give back. He is the face of domestic violence and if we allow that face back in an NFL locker room we are once again telling athletes that anything they do will be allowed just so long as they give some organization money and put on a happy face.
But there is no amount of money that will ever delete that tape of Ray Rice hitting Janay Rice off the internet. That tape is there for the whole world to see, and it’s there forever. By having this tape and having the power of social media, we can keep Ray Rice out of this league.
Kids should not look up to Ray Rice. They should see him for what he has become, the face of domestic violence. It’s time to take a stand on not only Ray Rice but domestic violence itself. By keeping Ray Rice out of the league we let women around this country know that they are not alone and that we are with them.
The next time you defend Ray Rice, answer me this: Who would you rather defend in their time of need? The woman who is being abused by her husband every single day and crying into her tissues, or the millionaire football player crying into his stack of $100 bills?
Really think about that.
Irving Mejia (Follow me on Twitter: @ismejia48)
Spark Sports NBA & NFL Analyst