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A Knockout Celebration

I’m not a big proponent of letting one discretion define a person’s life and career. We’ve all made mistakes, and wouldn’t look good if our biggest mistake was how we were known to the rest of the world. Sometimes you have to let bygones be bygones. Forgive but never forget. 

With that being said, there are a few exceptions to this rule. 

If you haven’t heard, according to NBC Sports, the Baltimore Ravens will honor former running back Ray Rice as a “Legend of the Game” at Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. Yup. You read that correctly. Ray Rice is being honored by the Ravens. 

I don’t claim to know it all, but if you went to 100 random people and asked them if they’ve heard the name Ray Rice, about 85% of them would bring up the 2014 incident of him punching his significant other square in the jaw in a heinous domestic violence incident. It might not be fair, but it’s the truth. 

My fictional survey aside, nobody can combat the idea that the incident is what Rice is known for. I know he was a very good running back on some of the Ravens best teams ever, but when someone sees him being honored, it is a tough look. 

Now there are people who have been honored by teams all over the world that are less than reputable characters. OJ Simpson being in the NFL Hall of Fame comes to mind. I understand that instinct. Unfortunately for the Ravens, it isn’t the early 90s anymore, and Ray Rice’s issue was all on video and really sparked the crackdown on domestic violence in the NFL. Someone in the Ravens organization needed to have some sort of clue what this would look like. The optics of this move are absolutely awful. Not only that, but the name is so easy to remember. Ray Rice just sticks out for whatever reason and all anyone can see is that swift punch that landed cleanly and knocked the woman out cold. 

Maybe they thought 10 years was long enough for the public to have moved on? They should’ve run this one up the flag poll a little bit. Maybe make some kind of social media post featuring Rice and seeing which way the wind blew. Well, they didn’t and they are now catching some serious flack for this move. 

Not for nothing, but there are several other players that could have been honored instead of Rice in this spot. Some of those defenses they had back were incredible. Maybe even bring out an otherwise unsung offensive lineman that contributed to Rice’s rushing numbers or something. Seems easy to me. 

Unfortunately, the Ravens have done it now. There is no winning for them. I’m sure if they stand their ground and proceed with the ceremony, feminist and anti-domestic violence groups will protest and make a big scene of the whole thing. Which is warranted by the way. It’s also too late to go back on this. It’s already out there and if they pull it back, they’ll be mocked mercilessly. 

This all comes down to having common sense. Someone with a little intelligence needed to say to whomever runs this thing, “Maybe we don’t go with him. People might still remember that whole thing.” I’m sure there will be some kind of scapegoat that will lose their job over this. The problem with that is there had to have been more than one person that makes decisions like this. I am always amazed at how dumb things like this pass through the necessary channels without getting flagged. Especially at high level, multi million dollar organizations like an NFL team. 

This will pass and we’ll all forget it after a week or so, but Ray Rice’s legacy is forever tarnished by this incident and it would be wise for the Ravens to simply move on from him. The team also needs to give their staffers and PR people a common sense evaluation. If they’re looking for a “common sense consultant,” I don’t ask too much. Just a six figure salary and a nice apartment to stay in when I’m in town. Reach out anytime. 

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