A group that works to prevent domestic violence says that the NFL should give former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice a second chance.
The founders of the group A Call to Men have made a call to the NFL to urge the league to give Ray Rice another chance after the Baltimore Ravens cut him last year following the release of video of him knocking out his girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator.
Not long after the Ravens waived him, the NFL also suspended him from the league preventing him signing with any other team. Rice soon appealed his suspension, however, and won his case resulting in the lifting of the suspension. Rice remains a free agent in search of a suitor.
Despite the reversal of his suspension, no team has moved to sign the former Ravens running back as a free agent. This, the anti-violence group says, is unfortunate. Tony Porter and Ted Bunch, the co-founders of A Callto Men, say that from their interaction with Rice, the player appears contrite and seems to have learned his lesson.
“We have been around a lot of abusive men, but our experience with Ray has been tremendously positive,” Tony Porter said last weekend. “We feel strongly about him having the opportunity of having a second chance. He’s deserving of it.”
The pair feel that Rice has taken responsibility for his actions and has made progress in owning those actions and seeking to change his behavior.
“He is saying everything that you would want him to say and doing everything that you would want him to do,” Ted Bunch added. “So why wouldn’t he deserve another chance? His work in the area of educating young men is more important than him getting back on the field. He knows that and has said that to us. He is seeing the bigger picture. He has a desire to compete again, but also to make a difference in the world. This is what mistakes should be about: learning from them and teaching others. We’ve been in front of a lot of batterers. He is as transparent as I’ve seen, and as sincere as I’ve seen.”
The anti-violence activists also noted that some may find their new found compassion hard to fathom.
“We’ll catch flak for this,” Porter said. “A lot of people think we should kick him to the curb and his name should be mud forever. But how great would it be if everyone who made a mistake made it their mission to make sure a million people don’t make the same mistake? To use the influence that he has, what a great way to correct that wrong. And that’s what Ray has committed himself to doing. His intentions are real, his heart is pure, and we’re going to help him to move forward so he can have a positive impact on the next generation of manhood.”
Still, some feel that Rice hasn’t been picked up simply because his record in his last season of play simply wasn’t as good as in previous years.
“[Rice is] also coming off a 3.1 yards per carry season the last time he played football,” said NBC Sports’ Darin Gantt. “While Rice’s contrition might be pure and his intentions good, that could ultimately be the thing keeping him off the field.”
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