Rice talks past life, need to reevaluate
(This article is authored neither in support nor opposition of Ray Rice. It is an exercise examining the thoughts going through his head. He may be thinking these things; he may not be. It is written from his imaginary perspective.)
My name is Ray Rice, and this is my obituary.
I was born and raised in New Rochelle, New York where I set school records on the football field and won a state championship my junior year. Upon receiving my diploma, I enrolled at Rutgers University and helped carry the Scarlet Knights’ football team to heights never reached in school history.
After being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft, I led the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens in rushing. I was a hero. Kids looked up to me. On Sundays, grown men sported my No. 27 jersey in public with pride. I made millions of dollars. My grin could light up an entire stadium.
That person, that life, is dead.
Today, I am Ray Rice, the abuser, the thug.
By now, everyone knows my mistake. People have thrown dirt on me and on my former employers. I cannot blame them. I struck the woman I love with a powerful punch, a haymaker.
She could have died.
Alcohol altered my decision-making that terrible night. My wife and I both consumed too much liquor, and, during a drunken argument, I temporarily lost my mind.
I believe others have had a similar experience while under the influence of a drug. I doubt many have been stupid enough to punch their loved one in the face, but I bet they made a regrettable decision because of a drug’s influence.
This was one of those moments. My heinous crime involved violence toward a woman, my fiancée, who is now my wife.
We share a love that most cannot understand—certainly not the people in the media and on message boards who assert my wife is a fool for loving me and claim I cannot possibly love her. To those people: please stop attempting to transplant yourself into our situation. Every relationship is different. Period.
Many people are passing judgment on our love despite having no understanding of its dynamic beyond that grainy TMZ video.
Because of this, along with my actions, I am a pariah. She is a laughingstock because of her willingness to believe my remorse. The commissioner of the NFL is even under investigation. His reputation is tarnished nearly as much as my own.
I get the impression that, when someone commits an indecent act, the public’s thirst for “justice” becomes carnivorous. The public smells blood and pounces. Talking heads drool at the opportunity to scream and articulate big words. Television analysts employ long pauses and deep gazes for dramatic effect.
The cycle continues until the guilty person’s name is buried six feet under.
Then, it’s on to the next.
Who can we deride and defame now? Which meme will gain the most likes? What are some synonyms for egregious and appalling?
I understand why I have received this punishment. I realize a misstep of this magnitude should not be dismissed quickly or easily. Justice would not be served. I realize I may never play another down of competitive football. I understand I am the poster boy for domestic violence in America.
I hope the public also realizes I have no previous criminal record. Countless other NFL players have beaten their loved ones one day and played the next.
My now-former teammate, Terrell Suggs, who carries a large “Ball So Hard University” following, punched his girlfriend in the neck and dragged her alongside a speeding car. He committed these acts years ago, and the NFL never administered a punishment to him.
Brandon Marshall and Ray McDonald committed similar acts of violence. If the NFL kicked out every athlete with a criminal history, it could not field 32 teams. And only then would people stop watching NFL football.
I am not defending Suggs, Marshall or McDonald. I am attempting to put my misdeeds in context. The NFL probably should carry stiffer penalties, but mine seems overboard compared to previous offenders.
I feel as if the NFL had disciplined me with, say, an eight-game suspension, I would have returned Week 9 to cheers in Baltimore and quite possibly the NFL as a whole.
Instead, they messed up, and it seems like I’m paying for it now. I admitted my transgressions throughout the process to both the Ravens and the NFL.
America is the land of second chances, but it seems that identity may now be stretching the truth. The public wants a tarnished reputation to stay that way. I think that, through rehabilitation, that tarnish should be able to wash away—or at least fade.
Because video of my disgraceful act was exposed, my old life is just that—in the past. I believe one moment of idiocy should not define a life. I plan to prove it.