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June 27, 2024 42 mins

Join host Jay Harris as he explores the tumultuous saga of the NFL’s Ray Rice, a harrowing tale of how a moment of explosive violence sparked a national outcry about domestic violence. We’ll see how Super Bowl glory can still lead to public vilification, especially when there is video evidence.


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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:07):
Welcome back to Playing Dirty Sports Scandals. I'm Jay Harris,
your host and juicer extraordinary, squeezing all the flavors from
sports biggest scandals, from elation to deflation, from failure to redemption,
from triumph to tragedy. We don't shy away from tough
blens on this podcast. Over the past twenty years of

my career as a journalist and sportscaster, I've hosted ESPN
show from SportsCenter to Outside the Lines. But on Playing Dirty,
I don my apron, roll up my sleeves, dice up
behind the scenes sports shenanigans, and blend them all up
into some seriously sinister but always succulent stories. I hope

you've come thirsty today because today's tail on tap is
the Ray Rice scandal, which shook the end NFL to
its core and sparked a nationwide conversation about domestic violence, accountability,
and redemption. In order to stomach this roller coaster to saga,
I recommend you clear your palette now. So let's pour

nice big glass of nutritious calming jamujuice chock full of
turmeric and ginger. Give it a stir and down the hatch.

Speaker 2 (01:30):
Woo Now that is.

Speaker 1 (01:31):
A drink to power up a kickoff, whether it's to
send a football flying across the gridiron or kicking off
a scandal, or in this case both, Let's get to it.
Raymel Maurice Rice's entrance into the world in the midst
of a blizzard on January twenty second, nineteen eighty seven,

was as dramatic as his future was faded to be.
His mother, Janet Rice, barely made it to the hospital
in time and recounted the unforgettable experience to ESPN's David Picker,
emphasizing Ray's eagerness to join mankind, as evidenced by his
constant kicking and six weeks premature birth. Janet affectionately dubbed

her newborn son Blizzard Baby, and from that moment forward,
his life was indeed a flurry of unrelenting ups and downs.
Ray Rice's early years in New Rochelle, New York were
a whirled away from the bright lights of the NFL.
Despite New Rochelle's reputation for upscale living with its renowned
Glen Island Park and enviable proximity to the Big Apple,

Like any city, it has its less desirable neighborhoods, and
the Rice family's apartment in the section of New Rochelle
known as the Hollows was anything but glamorous. His parents,
Calvin and Janet, relied on welfare to get by, and
material comforts were never a given. There's a quote that
no great love ever came without great struggle, and Ray

Rice's home life seemed to epitomize this sentiment. Calvin and
Janet Rice had busy lives and heavy financial burdens as
the patriarch and matriarch of their fledgling homestead, but there
was a lot of love within their apartment walls. Sadly,
despite the strength of their love for one another, a
long shadow was destined to creep over the Rice family.

Living in the Hollows project put them at increased risk
of violence. Sure, but no one could have anticipated Ray's father,
Calvin Reid, being gunned down in a drive by shooting
in the summer of nineteen eighty eight. One moment, Calvin
was walking home from work and banged. The next moment
he'd been hit, Calvin died on the sidewalk. Three years later,

when the gunman was convicted and sent to prison, it
was revealed that Calvin Reid hadn't even been the target
of the shooting. Ray Rice's upstanding, dedicated father had just
been in the wrong place at the wrong time, in
the way of Calvin's shocking murder. Ray's mother, Janet Rice,
declared her young son the man of the house, a

role he embraced with a maturity beyond his years as
he exited toddlerhood to become a serious, highly motivated child.
But no amount of hard work could help Ray outrun
the shadow that seemed to always find his family. At
three years old, ray Rice experienced yet another brush with
death when he attempted to wake his grandfather John up

one morning, unsuccessfully. Ray was heartbroken to discover that his
grandfather had passed away in his sleep. By the age
of seven, ray Rice's losses had already imprinted on him
the lesson that life is short and unpredictable, and that
you have to work hard to make the most of
the time you have. He told the Baltimore Sons Jamison

Hensley in two thousand and nine that he began playing
running back when he was just seven years old. Even then,
Ray had his eye on football as a career, and
he was taking it seriously, laying the groundwork for his
future success. Yet life in the hollows meant that dreams
had to be pursued with practicality, So even as he
worked to develop his athletic skills, by eight years old,

Ray Rice was also holding down jobs sweeping up hair
at a local barbershop and washing dishes at a catering hall.
His contributions to the household income demonstrated an early commitment
to hard work and sacrifice. Janet Rice remembered one day
when her young son came home with one hundred and
fifty dollars at the end of a work week. He

took the cash out of his pocket and gave it
to her to help make ends meet.

Speaker 2 (05:37):
He was so.

Speaker 1 (05:38):
Proud, Janet recalled. Ray stepped into some big shoes at
a very early age. He was a man before he
was a boy. But even though Ray was undeniably mature,
he was still a kid searching for role models, and
given the loss of his father, for male role models,
in particular, he found the surrogate father figure he so

desperately craved in mishn Rice Nichols, his older cousin who
came to live with them after his own mother passed
away from brain cancer. Mishawn was ten years older than
Ray and they did everything together, from practicing sports to
wrapping in front of the mirror. The two shared an
extremely close bond. Mischn was a positive influence on little Ray.

He himself was very ambitious and by his late teens
was already an up and coming rap artist known as
Soup Supe, which stood for spiritually uplifting people everywhere. Michon
sang about guiding people in the right direction despite their
tough surroundings, and his tunes clearly resonated since he signed
his first record deal at age twenty one and moved

with his fiancee and two daughters to California to pursue
a full time music career. Shortly thereafter. Ray was so
proud of Machan and aspired to be like his go
getter cousin. He was the one in the family where
if he wanted something, he went after it and.

Speaker 2 (06:59):
He got it. Ray said he was the first.

Speaker 1 (07:02):
One the family was really proud of. For Ray, Maschawn
was living proof that even a kid from the projects
could make it. But when Ray was eleven years old,
he was destined for yet another tragic loss when his
beloved cousin's dreams were snuffed out on the California road
on March twenty first, nineteen ninety eight, a driver swerving

to avoid another car during the early hours of Saint
Patrick's day, plowed into Myschan's compact car. His fiance died
on the scene, and Machaon passed away four days later.
That was rough, really rough, Ray remembered of that time
years later, But I believe today Michan's still here. In

honor of Mascham's memory, Ray doubled down on his sports training,
becoming even more obsessive about continuing the mission that Maschaan
had established to succeed at any cost. As a result
of his relentless work ethic, Ray Rice's athletics star was
well on the rise as he entered his teams at

New Rochelle High School. He excelled as both a point
guard on the basketball team and a running back on
the football team. By two thousand and three, raised talent
on the field alongside future NFL safety Courtney Green, propelled
the New Rochelle High School Huguenots to a commanding thirty
two to six victory over Webster Schroeder, clinching the Class
Double A state championship, a feat the team wouldn't replicate

for another nine years. Reflecting on this time in his life,
Ray Rice captured the fleeting nature of high school stardom,
telling w j Z, you can only be the man
for a moment. Over my career in high school, I
was the man. As the man at New Rochelle High School,
it seemed that Ray Rice would be likely to have

his woman, and.

Speaker 2 (08:53):
So he did.

Speaker 1 (08:55):
When he was just fifteen years old, Ray met fourteen
year old a Palmer, and just like that, their two
lives became deeply intertwined. Unlike Ray, Janey came from a stable,
two parent household in the neighboring town of Mount Vernon.
When asked years later about their early courtship, Janey observed,
I did come from a two parent household, which I

know drew him, highlighting how her family's stability was a
beacon for Ray. He even called Janey's father Dad eventually,
and seemed to relish being included in a financially and
emotionally stable family unit. Janay and her family, along with
Ray's mom Janet, provided the unwavering support Ray needed to
reach his full career potential, which was not necessarily a

given despite his exceptional talent and work ethic. You see,
Ray Rice had one major shortcoming for an aspiring NFL player.
He was just five foot eight inches tall. To put
this obstacle into context, the average height of an NFL
player is a little over six ' to two. But
Janey believed in him. Janey's family believed in him, and

his mother believed in him. So Ray gave one hundred
and ten percent to his football dream, knowing that it
was his only surefire ticket out of the hollow projects
and into a lifetime of being able to provide for
his struggling mother and extended family. Imagine Ray's relief when
all his hard work paid off and Rutgers University offered

him a spot. This was Ray's chance to prove the
naysayers wrong about his height challenge and shine on the gridiron.
His ambition was clear from the start, and he aimed
to become synonymous with Rutgers football and serve as the
key to turning around the university's mostly losing program. My
goal when I went there was for people to say
Ray Rice and Rutgers football in one sentence he shared

with New York mag dot com years later. Playing for
Rutgers University from two thousand and five to two thousand
and seven, ray Rice quickly became the Scarlet Knight's premier
running back Under coach Greg Schiano. His time at Rutgers
was transformative for him and for the university's football program,
marking a resurgence in its competitive performance. Despite his size,

ray Rice's performance on the field was colossal. His freshman
year saw him a mass over one thousand rushing yards,
hinting at the meteoric rise.

Speaker 2 (11:20):
That would follow.

Speaker 1 (11:22):
Ray Rice's sophomore year was even more spectacular, with seventeen
hundred and ninety four rushing yards and twenty touchdowns, placing
him as a finalist for the Maxwell Award and seventh
in Heisman Trophy voting. His efforts led Rutgers to an
historic season, culminating in a victory in the two thousand
and six Texas Bowl, the program's first bowl win, where

ray Rice was rightfully named MVP. Choosing to stay on
with Rutgers for his junior year, ray Rice exceeded expectations
once again, amassing two thy twelve rushing yards and twenty
four touchdowns, and his record setting performance against the ball
State Cardinals with two hundred and eighty rushing yards in
a single game is still legendary. After such an illustrious

college performance, no one was surprised when ray Rice decided
to make the leap to the NFL, leaving behind a
legacy at Rutgers marked by numerous records and a stand
up character. The Baltimore Ravens selected ray Rice in the
second round of the two thousand and eight NFL Draft
as the fifty fifth overall pick. Greg Schiano, his coach

at Rutgers, proudly predicted a bright future for the star player,
stating the Baltimore Ravens are getting a tremendous player and
person in Ray Rice. Meanwhile, ray Rice was embodying his
late cousin Mai Shawn's legacy of achieving his dreams through
hard work. He signed a four year, two point eight
million dollar rookie contract, fulfilling the heartfelt promise he'd made

to his mother, Janet to be a provider. Ray purchased
a new apartment for his mother on law with two
cars in Accura and Alexis. Words cannot even explain what
I feel on the inside. Janet said about her beloved son,
who would beat all the odds to realize success at
the highest level. It's just joy, Joy, It's all I

can say. Janet's joy was compounded watching her son slay
his NFL debut season in two thousand and eight, ray
accumulated eight hundred and nineteen all purpose yards, contributing significantly
to the Ravens eleven win season under the leadership of
first year head coach Jim Harbaugh and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.

Despite a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the
AFC Championship Game, ray Rice's potential was undeniable. In two
thousand and nine, assuming the role of the Ravens starting
running back, his career surged forward, marking the beginning of
four consecutive one thousand yard rushing seasons and establishing him
as a formidable force on the field. Twenty two years old,

ray Rice had become a household name. Between two thousand
and nine and twenty twelve, Ray's winning streak continued. His
skill set extended beyond his rushing abilities. He became a
reliable pass catching threat, accumulating a combined twenty four hundred
and forty receiving yards, absolutely amazing. His peak performance earned

him three Pro Bowl selections and two second team All
Pro honors, culminating in a Super Bowl victory in twenty
thirteen when the Ravens won over the San Francisco forty
nine Ers. Everything he has set out his goals, he
has accomplished, his proud mother Janet told ESPN, and now
making it to the Super Bowl is an even bigger accomplishment.

He said he wouldn't go to the Super Bowl unless
he was playing in one. He's having the time of
his life. It's a real exciting time for both of us.
And it was such an exciting time. But great accomplishment
almost it always comes with great pressure, and ray Rice's
personal responsibilities hadn't diminished with his increased professional demands. Off

the field, he was still working hard, hosting annual spring
football clinics for children in New Rochelle and supporting his
high school team with equipment donations. Ray Rice was burning
the candle at both ends, so to speak, and the
pressure he was under may well have felt overbearing. With
the birth of his and Janney's daughter, Raven in twenty twelve,

named in homage to both himself and the Baltimore Ravens.
Raven Rice's entrance into the world overwhelmed Ray, who later
admitted that his early commitment as an involved husband and
father was somewhat lacking. Meanwhile, twenty six year old Janet
found herself largely alone parenting a newborn baby, and was
understandably frustrated. Tension was growing between Ray and Janey, who

at this point had already shared more than a decade together.
On Valentine's Day twenty fourteen, the tension finally boiled over. Janet,
envisioning a night off from lone childcare responsibilities and a
romantic one on one celebration, found her hopes dashed when

Ray instead opted for a group outing in Atlantic City.
This decision, made unilaterally by Ray, left Janet feeling sidelined
yet again. Two young parents were at odds and simmering
with upset. On their journey to the Revel Casino's Royal
Jelly Club. Things went from bad to worse once they arrived, Ray,

who had been abstaining from alcohol leading up to the outing,
decided to break his dry spell and indulge heavily. His
drinking led to an early exit from the casino and
over to the Revel casino's restaurant, where a massive fight
ensued between Ray and Janet. Fueled by alcohol, exhaustion, and resentment,
the couple's quarrel escalated from exchanging heated works words to

physical blows. The altercation reached its climax in an elevator,
where it seems both Ray and Janet believed they could
battle in privacy, but of course casinos have cameras everywhere,
and the elevator camera captured everything that went down in
horrifying detail. Janet slapped and spat it Ray, and Ray

retaliated with a forceful strike on Jane. Janey collapsed unconscious
against the railing inside the elevator. Instead of her collapse
sparking immediate remorse and concern, Ray Rice dragged Janey, the
mother of his daughter, out of the elevator like a
bag of laundry. Atlantic City police responded to the scene,

where both Ray Rice and Janey Palmer refused medical treatment
and were arrested on charges of simple assault. This scenario
was what is sometimes known as mutual combat, though how
a fight between an an elite NFL player like Ray Rice,
who has been professionally trained to sustain monster hits from
very large humans, and a petit woman could be written

off as mutual combat is questionable. It certainly wasn't as
if a UFC fight between contenders in the same weight
class had just taken place. Still, the Atlantic City police
reports indicated that both Ray and Janet had struck each
other with their hands during an altercation inside the elevator.
Apparently one or both of them admitted as much to police,

corroborating the casino's footage. Now, Ray Rice was a very
well known public figure in the Northeast, so this harrowing
incident was going to be anything but quiet. The case
leaked into the public consciousness within twenty four hours, and
on February fifteenth, twenty fourteen, news emerged of Ray Rice's

and Janet Palmer's arrest. Initially described by Ray's attorney as
a minor physical altercation, the narrative began to shift dramatic
with the release of the revel casino's video footage by
TMZ on February nineteenth, which showed Ray dragging Janet's limp
body from the elevator. This shocking footage contradicted the initial

minimization of the incident and prompted police to disclose that
they also had video evidence from inside the elevator showing
Ray knocking Janey unconscious before dragging her out into the hallway.
It's impossible to minimize Ray's choice to drag petite Janey
along the floor. Yes, he was intoxicated, but we're talking

about a strong professional athlete. He couldn't pick her up
and carry her out of the elevator to get medical attention,
as not forget that this is the mother of his child.
The callous coolness of Ray's actions seemed to speak volumes
to the public about his inner character, and it wasn't good.
In the days following the incident, Baltimore Ravens and the

NFL found themselves grappling with the implications of Ray's altercation
with Jenne. Raven's head coach Sean Harvaugh relayed to the
press that the two people obviously have a couple of
issues that they have to work through, and they're both
committed to doing that. Raven's general manager Ozzie Newsom added
that their organization needed to review the whole video before

reaching any conclusions. The upsetting thing about these reactions is
that they come shockingly close to absolving Ray of violence
towards Janet simply because she too was physical with him.
But it is important to remember that there is no
fair play in what transpired on Valentine's Stage twenty fourteen

at the Revel Casino. Janet's petite and untrained, whereas ray
Rice is a two hundred and six pound machine like athlete.
Given his training and profession, there is no excuse for
him to instruct Jane. There was no circumstance under which
his response to her should have turned physical. Significantly. The
footage from inside the elevator at the Revel Casino had

not yet been released at this point, but TMZ sharing
of the dragging video outside the elevator escalated the situation,
with legal proceedings against Ray Rice snowballing and his charges
becoming upgraded to third degree aggravated assault. Even with the
upgraded charges looming, the Ravens organization continued to express support

for Ray, underscoring his character and contributions to their community.
Ravens owner Steve Buscotti, speaking on March twenty four, twenty fourteen,
affirmed Rice's place on the team, highlighting his previous record
of good behavior and community service. Ray's just been lauded.
This the nicest, hardest working, greatest guy on the team

and in the community. BUSCOTTI said, so we have to
support him. I think we'll be rewarded by him maturing
and never putting himself in a situation like this. Again,
I've been on record of saying my definition of character
is repeating offenses. If we're all one striking, you're out,
then we're all in trouble. It's how you respond to adversity. Meanwhile,

Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, coolly acknowledged the league's awareness
of the incident and the ongoing evaluation of appropriate disciplinary actions.

Speaker 2 (22:15):
Hmm hmm.

Speaker 1 (22:17):
Do you hear that it's not a ginger lemon water
brew coming to a boil. That's the sound of the
public bubbling over with anger. As the ray Rice scandal unfolded,
people were becoming increasingly outraged as it appeared that yet
another athlete would escape professional accountability for domestic violence. After all,

ray Rice's violent attack was just the most prominent case
in a continuing litany of domestic abuse incidents for the NFL.
According to a study by USA Today, eighty five of
the seven hundred and thirteen arrests of NFL players between
two thousand and twenty fourteen were for domestic abuse. Understand
the believe many were fed up with the NFL's seemingly

lackadaisical attitude toward their player's violent assaults off the field.
Among other reporters, Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post summed
up her disgust, writing that the effeckless enabling see no
evil National Football League and the effeckless enabling see no
evil Ravens management preferred not to ponder what it takes

to knock out a human being quote unquote. Amidst the
public outcry and in the immediate aftermath of Ray's indictment
for third degree aggravated assault, Ray Rice and Jenet Palmer
made the unexpected decision to expedite their wedding, which had
originally been planned for that summer, to the very next day.
Allegedly it was rushed to help their legal case relating

to the assault. Nonetheless, this turn of events within weeks
of raised assault charge was surprising. The Baltimore Sun reporting
that their wedding ceremony was a gathering point for support
from the Ravens community and friends within the NFL wide receiver.
Tory Smith, among those in attendance, voiced his unwavering support
for both ray and Janey, describing them as family to

him and his wife, Chanelle Williams. I went by after
everything happened and checked up on them, and they're happy.
They're growing, Tory Smith related, they're trying to better themselves
from it. Tory's remarks highlighted a sentiment of optimism and
resilience amid controversy. Ray Rice's and Jenney Palmer's wedding, detailed
by The Daily Mail, was not short on NFL's star power,

with guests including then Philadelphia Eagles player Carrie Williams, then
Buffalo Bill's player Corey Graham, and the Baltimore Ravens own
Josh Binds and Tory Smith. The atmosphere of unity and
support was palpable, as captured in social media posts from
the day. Wedding day flow as my Boy ray Rice
and Jeanne united marriage, Josh Binds shared celebrating the couple's union.

But despite the pomp, ray Rice's marriage Ridge to the
woman he had pummeled just weeks earlier landed like a
lead balloon with the public who were furious at the
celebration of a man who beat a woman unconscious. And
ray didn't just have a pr problem. The cogs of
the legal system had continued to turn, and he had
made the risky decision to go his own way with

his defense. On May one, twenty fourteen, ray Reich decided
to reject a plea deal that would have had him
avoiding jail time by attending probation and anger management. Why
would he do that, you ask? After all, it sounds
like a slap on the wrist deal that any domestic
violent offender would jump to secure. But ray Rice instead

entered a plea of not guilty and requested acceptance into
a pre trial intervention program designed for first time offenders.
So what was his rationale? While the first defender program
is specifically designed to allow someone a second chance assuming
they complete some sort of community service or pay a fine,
and I have their probationary time with good behavior meaning

no more run ends with the law, the real allure
of this program is that if someone successfully completes the
first time offender program, their record is wiped clean, as
if the crime the committed never happened. So Ray Rice
was making a case for his chance to have a
clean slate, But it was an incredibly tricky legal strategy

to pursue because the first offender program is typically not
offered in domestic violence cases. According to a report from
Outside the Lines in New Jersey, where Ray's violent assault
had taken place, the first offender program is offered in
less than one percent of domestic violence cases. Given that statistic,

Ray still turned down his plea deal for an incredible
long shot on the first time offender program option. In
an effort to sway public opinion and support raised chances
of realizing his improbable but ideal legal outcome. A press
conference was orchestrated by the Baltimore Ravens on May twenty third,
twenty fourteen. Both Ray and Janet addressed the media together,

presenting a united front. Ray Rice apologized for the incident
at the Revel Casino, while Janey Rice, in a move
that sparked widespread controversy, also apologized for her role in
the situation. The Ravens handling of the press conference, and
particularly their decision to share Janey Rice's apology on social media,
was met with some backlash from the public, THESAKA continued

to unfold quickly and dramatically. Just weeks later, on June sixteenth,
ray Rice, with Janet by his side, once again sat
down with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsom, Baltimore,
Ravens Team president Dick cass and NFL big wigs Jeff
Pash and ADOLPHEO Birch to determine what punishment the NFL
would dish out. The reports that came from this meeting

painted a complex picture, with Sports Illustrated's writer Peter King
detailing Janey Rice's emotional appeal to Roger Goodell for leniency.
According to Peter King, Janay assured Roger Goodell that the
incident in the elevator at Revel Casino was a one
time event, that nothing physical had happened in their relationship
before or since, and that it would only ruin Ray

Rice's image and career to hit him with heavy NFL sanctions.
There's little doubt that Janey Palmer's emotional plea carried a
great deal of weight with Roger Goodell, but many who
routinely work with people in the cycle of domestic violence
were gobs specked that Janey had even been in the
meeting with the NFL executives. Having Janet and Ray in

the room and thinking that she can speak freely in
that kind of a situation is crazy. Renee Rennick of
the National Network to End Domestic Violence reflected, there is
no way she can speak freely in that situation, And
if there was any chance that she was afraid or coersed,
she couldn't have said that.

Speaker 2 (28:54):
She would have been.

Speaker 1 (28:55):
Probably in a whole lot of danger. Renee Rennick's point
is a valid one for all of Janet's please on
behalf of ray The NFL should not have discounted the
dynamics of domestic violence in determining a punishment. If anything,
they should have listened more closely to what ray Rice
himself actually disclosed, because as the scandal continued to unfold,

conflicting accounts of what went down at this disciplinary meeting
with ray Rice emerged. According to ray Rice himself and
ESPN's outside the lines, Ray's disclosure was honest.

Speaker 2 (29:28):
I told the commissioner that I hit her.

Speaker 1 (29:30):
She hit her head on the railing, Ray relayed several
months later, under oath. Meanwhile, Commissioner Roger Goodell would remember
Ray's account in this meeting as ambiguous, claiming that Ray
had minimized the impact of the physical contact. Specifically, Roger
Goodell would later insist that Ray implied that it was
not the blow that did any damage, it was actually

the fact that she fell and knocked herself out. Regardless
of Ray and Roger ultimately butting heads about what was
said on July sixteenth, the initial outcome was that, on
July twenty fourth, the NFL handed down a mere two
game suspension to Ray Rise's punishment. This decision was met
with widespread public criticism for its leniency. Despite the Ravens'

best attempts to explain the NFL's decision, John Harbaugh, the
Ravens head coach, communicated the organization's stance to the medium, stating,
I stand behind Ray.

Speaker 2 (30:26):
He's a heck of a guy. He's done everything right.

Speaker 1 (30:28):
Since he makes a mistake, he's going to have to
pay a consequence. But was a two game suspension really
the appropriate consequence for striking Janet unconscious? Many took issue
with the NFL's internal ruling because it definitely raised the
ugly specter of athletes being given special treatment when it
came to facing the consequences of their actions. At a

news conference on the heels of the NFL's two game
suspension announcement, Ray insisted to reporters that the violent incident
was not representative of who he was. You know, that's
not me, he said. You know, what happened is something
I have to live with for the rest of my life.
Little did Ray know how true his words would be.

On September eighth, the scandal that Ray Rice had believed
to be moving into his rear view mirror was suddenly
reignited when TMZ released what is now the infamous video
of Ray hitting Janey inside the elevator at the Rebel Casino.
We've all heard the saying a picture is worth a
thousand words when it comes to conveying the truth, and

as the Ray Rice scandal proves, that is absolutely the case.
Because when TMZ finally showed people what had happened inside
the elevator before Ray dragged Janey out of the machine
into the hallway, the public horror was palpable. Ray Rice
had slugged Janey with a knockout blow and she dropped

like a felled tree. It was unbearable to watch, and
it changed. No organization could stand behind the man captured
in that video footage. The Baltimore Ravens swiftly terminated Ray
Rice's contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. Head coach

John Harbaugh was quick to state that the team had
not seen the full elevator footage until its public release,
emphasizing that as soon as they had seen it, they'd
acted immediately. The video is something we saw for the
first time today all of us, emphasized Harbaugh, who added
that the video had not been made previously available to

the team. It changed things, of course, It made things
a little bit different for ray It made things a
lot different.

Speaker 2 (32:47):
The public consensus was.

Speaker 1 (32:49):
Clear Ray Rice's career in the NFL should be over,
with insiders convinced that the leaked footage had irrevocably tarnished
his prospects of returning to the field. Nike severed its
endorsement deal with Ray Ray's likeness was removed from Madden
NFL fifteen in EA sports attempt to disassociate their brand

from the embattled athlete. Verdemax, a company known for performance
equipment pulled out of their philanthropic Ray of Hope collaboration
with Ray to provide a sports training system to Nazareth
Area High School. The National Congress of Black Women CEOs
labeled Ray as the poster boy for domestic violence, underscoring

the severity of his actions. Prominent columnist Mike Lupica starkly
referred to him as an unemployed wifebeater, encapsulating the downfall
of his previously positive public image. The scandal even reached
the highest levels of government, with President Obama himself stating
that hitting a woman is not something a real man

does suddenly, in spite of everyone assuming he'd hit Janney
in the elevator before, video footage of the actual blow
had resulted in everyone condemning Ray unreservedly and making him
the touch point for domestic violence discussion across the nation.
The light in the darkness for Ray at this terrible

time was that his criminal charges were dropped in exchange
for court supervised counseling. Between this positive shift in his
legal circumstance and the fact that the only dream he'd
ever had was on the line, Ray Rice decided to
fight to get his former life back in November twenty
fourteen by appealing the NFL's indefinite suspension. This new hearing

favored Ray's interpretation of the initial NFL disciplinary hearing back
in July twenty fourteen, rather than Roger Goodell's account. This
led to ray Rice's reinstatement in the league, since his
original two game suspension had been completed. Through Ray's appeal,
The NFL was also reminded that labor law principles don't

allow a second punishment for the same conduct. They technically
couldn't give him an indefinite suspension for domestic abuse after
initially giving him a two game suspension, But what the
NFL could do and did, was sideline ray Rice within
their organization. A year on from the tumult that reshaped

his life and career, ray Rice found himself still in
a period of enforced hiatus from within the NFL, akin
to an injury season. Despite the NFL landscape's historic willingness
to reintegrate players who had faced domestic abuse accusations such
as Greg Hardy, ray Rice remained unsigned. Did the NFL

ultimately dish out greater discipline and Ray's case because of
the widely circulated elevator footage visual which made it much
more difficult for the public to forget. Was it because
Ray's account of what went on in his first NFL
disciplinary hearing had differed from that of Commissioner Roger Goodell's
version and upset the illustration. Or was it because by

this time, Ray was viewed as an aging player in
a position that's often seen as replaceable. Whatever the reason,
Ray Rice spent the final days of his NFL career
benched while his career on the gridiron stagnated. Ray also
had to undergo counseling. Per his agreement with New Jersey's prosecutors,

Ray publicized his personal work with doctor.

Speaker 2 (36:26):
Paul Ball in a strategic.

Speaker 1 (36:28):
Move to reconstruct his image from pariah to a man
earnestly striving for redemption. Nobody ever had courage enough to
try to give me the tools of life, Ray Rice
shared in therapy, recounting his childhood with the burdens of
adulthood were prematurely.

Speaker 2 (36:43):
Thrust upon him.

Speaker 1 (36:44):
I was told since high school that I'd be in
the NFL. Once my football playing started taking off and
I started scoring all those touchdowns, I was the golden child.
The takeaway was that Ray believed people cared about football,
not about him. He said he'd suppressed his unhappy past,
but was now learning to love himself. It's unfortunate that

it took this situation for me to face myself, Ray said.
The unraveling of his dream career impacted not just Ray
but his entire family. The financial repercussions of his behavior
at the Revel Casino were significant. In March twenty fifteen,
ray Rice settled with the Baltimore Ravens for one point

five million, a mere fraction of the three point eight
million he sought to recover from his contract, as reported
by The Baltimore Sun via ESPN, and despite rumors of
interest from teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ray's bold
offer to donate his entire salary to domestic violence charities,
an NFL comeback wasn't in the cards. Faced with this reality,

ray Rice had to shift his career focus. He decided
to redirect his energy towards education and community work. Today,
ray Rice works with football teams, spread domestic violence awareness,
and is associated with organizations like the Childhood Domestic Violence Association.
He acknowledges that he had underlying issues that he tried

to treat with football instead of seeking professional help. His
goal with his second career is to encourage others in
the NFL to understand that they can and should seek
help beyond the tough guy gridiron. I know that my
peers in the NFL need peers that have been through
things and know how to see and present what the
other side looks like. Ray explained the CBS News. I

try to share things and make my experience relatable. In
December twenty twenty three, nine years after Ray Rice's fateful
violent assault on Janet, the Baltimore Ravens made a decision
that stirred the sports community once again by celebrating Ray
Rice as a legend of the game during their Week
seventeen matchup against the Miami Dolphins. This recognition was not

just about recalling Ray's on field prowess. It was all
about acknowledging his efforts to redeem himself. The Ravens team
president Sashi Brown commended ray Rice for his significant contributions
both on and off the gridiron, acknowledging his exemplary role
as a teammate as well as his remarkable on field achievements.

But Sashi Brown emphasized that it was Ray Rice's dedicated
efforts to help others following his own twenty fourteen domestic
abuse incident that really cinched him as a legend. He
highlighted Ray's passion from motivational speaking at colleges and with
professional teams, as well as Ray's philanthropic work through his
nonprofit Pipeline to Prosperity. This initiative, aimed at supporting underprivileged

youth in Baltimore and New Rochelle, reflects Ray Rice's continued
commitment to giving back. Sashi Brown concluded that importantly, after
Ray's incident, he owned it 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. Ray Rice said that
being featured as a Legend of the game by The
Ravens in twenty twenty three paralleled his sensation of winning
the Super Bowl back in twenty thirteen. I know what

it feels like to feel like you ain't worth it
no more. Ray Rice shared a lot of things I
had to overcome came out of me being at my lowest.
But my legacy won't be domestic violence. My legacy will
be what I became. After time will tell of Ray's
hopeful words come to pass. Meanwhile, Janey stuck by him

all these years. They have two children together, and Janey
claims never to have regretted giving Ray a second chance.
I'm not here to force people to understand, Jenay said.
She continued, it was never a thought whether I was
going to leave or not, because I knew that wasn't
him in that moment. This is somebody I've known since

I was fifteen years old. I knew that we had
work to do, and I was willing to move forward
and put in the work. While the Ray Rice scandal,
which spans the gamut of unconscionable violence to redemptive commitment,
remains controversial, it also represents the enduring hope that individuals

can always emerge from the lowest points to make meaningful contributions.
It's nice to close a scandal with some sweeter flavors
lingering on the palette. Every now and then, regardless of
how you feel about Ray Rice's efforts to redeem himself.
We can all feel good about the people he's actively
helping today through his own nonprofit Pipeline to Prosperity, as

well as his work for the Make a Wish Foundation,
cyber bullying prevention and homeless aid charities.

Speaker 2 (41:53):
If only all.

Speaker 1 (41:55):
Our scandals ended with a positive focus, Come Thirsty and
meet me back here at the jusepar next week for
a fresh episode of Playing Dirty Sports Scandals. Playing Dirty

Sports Scandals is a production of Dan Patrick Productions, Never
Ever Productions and Workhouse Media from executive producers Dan Patrick,
Paul Anderson, Nick Panela, Maya Glickman, and Jennifer Clary. Hosted
by Jay Harris, Written and produced by Jen Brown, Francie Haiks,
Maya Glickman, and Jennifer Claire
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