Ray Rice needs counseling, not football **updated**
If the Baltimore Ravens were hopeful that a return to the field on Sunday would put behind them any lingering coverage of the Ray Rice situation, Monday came as a giant disappointment. Certainly, this newly released video of what exactly happened inside the elevator between Ray Rice and his wife Janay will open up a new round of questions for the Ravens coaching staff and front office to answer. The NFL will also have to be questioned again as to why they did not wait until all the evidence had been presented to them before making their decision on a suspension.
We already knew that a truly terrible action had occurred in the elevator but the corresponding video is just tragically disturbing. All the emotion and vitriol I felt at hearing the news of the action was compounded and multiplied when I watched the video this morning. I just felt sick to my stomach and it was a real challenge to myself to stand by my earlier article on this matter.
I previously wrote that I felt there was no punishment on the field that could be considered equal to the crime Rice committed, but I also felt that we, as fans, should take this opportunity to consider what we can do to help prevent this type of behavior in the future as well as helping those that have been victimized by domestic violence. I still feel that no punishment could be considered equal to the crime but I also would have to question any decision to allow Ray Rice on the football field this year.
I do believe in forgiveness but that does not excuse behavior nor does it eliminate consequences for those actions. I believe that everything the Ravens have done in their handling of this situation shows that they do care about Rice and if that is the case they should help him even if it is a detriment to the on field product.
Allowing Rice to return to the team and continue to play the game he loves could very well serve as an escape and a relief for him. I do not believe he deserves that at this time. Rice should be in counseling dealing with the issues that lead to this behavior. Now is not the time for a vacation or escape from the consequences.
Also, the Ravens, and ourselves, should not forget about the victim, Janay, in this either. I would expect that she would need some therapy and counselling to help her heal from this event. The NFL and the Ravens can make a small statement about how much they do care about this issue of domestic violence by making sure that Janay is taken care of in this time of need.
Finally, I would just wish to remind us all, myself included, that we not view this matter strictly in the terms of a football story and that we remember this is a problem no matter where it occurs. Remember the outrage you felt when you saw this horrific video and help those that are in need.
The Baltimore Ravens released Ray Rice this afternoon. I hope that even though the Ravens have decided to not keep Rice on their roster that they continue to help him and especially his wife, Janay, with their recovery.
The Ravens have always prided themselves on creating a family environment throughout their organization and I do not believe they should just turn their backs on members of that family in a time of need. While the punishment is justified, the Rice family now find themselves unemployed, a situation regardless of their finances that can easily add stress to an already stressful environment. It would be callous and uncaring to simply try to sweep away a PR problem with no thought for the lives being affected.
Understandably, the Ravens do not wish to continue to publicly have Rice associated with the organization, however, private support is what is most needed at this time anyway. Just because Rice no longer plays for the Ravens does not mean the story ends for either himself or his wife.
You may say that it is no longer the Ravens problem and you would be right. The Ravens are not obligated to do anything but ostracizing them from the organization does nothing to help the situation. In addition, helping when you do not have to is a true sign of caring.
The Ravens recently unveiled a statue in commemoration of Ray Lewis. That statue not only honors when of the best players to play the game but it can also serve as a visual reminder of redemption. Lewis did not enter the league as the respected person he left it. Lewis used his run in with the law as a wake-up call. Lewis made changes in his life and as he mentioned in his speech at the statue unveiling, he did not do it alone. Lewis had the support of the Ravens.
Support that Janay is certain to need now. I hope the Ravens, and the NFL, provide it because that would also be the right thing to do.