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Ray Rice to Be Honored by Ravens Nearly 10 Years After DV Incident

Ray Rice will be honored by the Baltimore Ravens this weekend in front of fans.

via: NBC Sports

Rice was once the most toxic name in sports, the embodiment of the NFL’s domestic violence problem, and the last person the league or the Baltimore Ravens wanted to associate with. That has changed.

The Ravens have announced that on Sunday they will honor Rice as their “Legend of the Game,” a game day tradition in Baltimore to recognize a former player for his accomplishments both on and off the field.

But does Rice deserve to be honored? In 2014, he was caught on video punching his then-fiancée, now wife, so hard that he knocked her out, then dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. After he was arrested for the assault, the NFL initially suspended him just two games, sparking anger — which turned to widespread public outrage when the video became public.

The Ravens cut him and his NFL career was over. So why honor him now?

Rice says honoring him allows him to show that he has changed.

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“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 told 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.”

Ravens President Sashi Brown, who was hired by the Ravens last year and was not with the team during Rice’s career, defended Rice as a man worthy of honoring.

“He was also consistently in the community, giving back. Importantly, after Ray’s incident he owned it,” Brown said. “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.”

Rice’s reception from Ravens fans will likely be mostly positive: Nearly a decade later, fans tend to remember the good times. Plus, the Ravens are honoring Rice at a big game in which the Ravens can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Fans in Baltimore will be fired up to cheer their Ravens.

Outside of Baltimore, the reaction may be different, with plenty of questions about why someone who did what Rice did deserves to be treated as a hero.




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