Ten years ago, NFL running back Ray Rice was the very embodiment of male toxicity and domestic violence after he knocked his then-girlfriend unconscious in a Las Vegas elevator.
Sentiments have shifted in the decade since Rice was exiled from the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL. The team that Rice won a Super Bowl with is now set to honor his contributions on the football field, much to the chagrin of some fans.The Ravens announced they will bestow Rice with the honor of “Legend of the Game,” a Ravens tradition that celebrates former players for his accomplishments on the gridiron, NBC Sports reports.
Rice’s career ended immediately after he was caught on hotel surveillance footage punching Janay Rice so hard that he knocked her out, and then callously dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator.Fans were incensed because the NFL initially suspended the running back only two games — and then changed its stance after the hotel released the video to the media which sparked widespread backlash against the league and the team.
Ten years after being forced out of the league, Rice tells America that he is a changed man.
“I truly understand why I was let go and why so many hearts changed. But hopefully people can see where I’m at now. They say people can change, right? I am not the same person I was 10-12 years ago. That’s just not who I am,” Rice said on the Ravens’ website. “Every time I stepped on the field, I gave it my all. But I couldn’t say the same for life. Now I’m trying to be the best version of me.”
Sashi Brown, who was hired as Ravens President in 2022, defended the team’s decision to honor Rice.
“He was also consistently in the community, giving back. Importantly, after Ray’s incident he owned it,” Brown said, according to the TV network. “On his own accord, Ray undertook critical work within himself and to bring awareness to and educate others on domestic violence. Nothing will change his past or make it right, but Ray’s work has allowed him to atone for his actions and rebuild relationships personally and professionally, including with the Ravens.”
Source: Rolling Out