TRIGGER WARNING: THIS ARTICLE TALKS ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!
I believe we have all had that moment where we look at our significant other and think, “I could just slap you silly!”. The thing is most of us don’t act on the impulse. It is human nature to want to hit something when you get frustrated or are in the middle of a fit of rage. Again, most of us don’t act on it, not just because it is against the law but because we love that person. Inflicting pain on your significant other is not something many of us would even remotely think about doing. Ray Rice missed the memo about not beating the shit out of the ones you love. He really missed the memo of not doing it when a security camera is recording.
Raymell Mourice Rice was born on January 22, 1987 in New Rochelle, New York to Janet Rice and Calvin Reed. Sadly, Calvin was killed in a drive by shooting when Ray was just a year old so for most of his life it was just him and his Mom. Rice attended New Rochelle High School where he played running back on the football team. Rice still holds the state record for yards in a single game: he gained 462 yards on 42 carries on October 24, 2004. During his three years on the varsity team at NRHS they only lost one game. After graduating in 2004 Rice went on to attend Rutgers College. During his freshman year the football team had its first winning season in thirteen years. During this time Rice played halfback on the team and rushed for 1,120 yards and five touchdowns.
After his sophomore year Rice left Rutgers to enter the 2008 NFL draft. He was drafted in the second round by the Baltimore Ravens singing a four-year $2.805 million deal, plus a $1.1 million signing bonus. In 2009 Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced that Ray Rice has been selected as starting running back over teammate Willis McGahee. Rice went on to have a sensational 2009 season with the team and in 2010 things were just getting better, finishing the season with 1,220 total rushing yards, and 556 total receiving yards. Ray Rice has certainly started to make a name for himself as a powerhouse in the NFL. During the 2011 season Rice had an impressive 704 receiving yards off 76 catches averaging 9.3 yards a reception. Although during the playoffs he was held in check, having just 47 touches for 158 yards and not a single touchdown.
On July 16, 2012, Rice agreed to a 5-year, $35 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens after being franchise tagged earlier in the off season. On February 3, 2013, the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII ( dubbed the Harbaugh Bowl), earning Rice his first Super Bowl ring. Rice played a big part in this game having had 20 carries for 59 yards and four receptions for 19 yards. During the 2013 season Rice had a slow start after sustaining an injury but things slowly picked up for him. In 2014 it all would all come crashing down for Ray Rice after an average video surveillance camera caught him doing something he shouldn’t have.
On February 15, 2014 Ray Rice and his fiancée Janay Palmer were enjoying themselves at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As most couples do when taking a trip there, you might get a little drinky, drink, gamble a little money, money, and have fun. In their case it was probably a lot of money money. The two entered the elevator at said casino where all hell broke loose. Both Janay and Ray (yo, that rhymes) seemed a little tense and agitated before getting on the elevator, they possible had already been having an argument. Once inside the elevator the argument turned physical and the proper authorities were called. Both refused medical attention before being arrested and taken in for “simple assault”. The arrest quickly broke on the news and sports channels everywhere. People shunned the couple for the incident and were upset. Little did people know just how bad things were about to get.
Now, Rice isn’t a particularly large man, I would even say he is pretty small in stature. But when someone is whipping your ass it doesn’t matter how big or small, they might be. If they somehow manage to overpower you that is all she wrote. We don’t know who sent the video surveillance tape to TMZ or how they got their hands on it but on February 19th they blew this bitch wide open and the nation was stunned by what they witnessed. On the video Rice is seen knocking out his fiancée and dragging her out of said elevator by her hair. He was dragging her like a bag of trash. In the video Janay is clearly unconscious. On February 21, 2019 just days after the video was released Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh held a press conference and it is here that he would publicly defend his star running back. Harbaugh was quoted during the press conference stating that; “There are a lot of facts and a process that has to be worked through in anything like this. There are a lot of question marks. But Ray’s character, you guys know his character. So you start with that.” Honestly, over the years Rice kept a good image and mainly stayed out of the spot light so, I think people did feel like they could vouch for his character.
On March 5th Harbaugh would further defend Rice by telling reporters; “Ray has told me his side of it, and everything we’ve seen so far is very consistent with what he said.” I have seen the video myself and it is pretty bad, the beat down was pretty well…. bad. You can find it on YouTube is you are really interested in watching it but I have to warn you it is very disturbing. I guess investigators felt the same way about the video and incident because on March 27, 2014 Ray Rice was indicted by an Atlantic County grand jury on third degree aggravated assault charges. The Ravens as a whole did have something to say about the arrest; “This is part of the due process for Ray. We know there is more to Ray Rice than this one incident.”
Before I continue, I want to say that in the video it does seem that Janay Palmer put hands on Ray Rice first and actually punches him. I am a firm believer that if a female strikes first a male has the right to defend himself (and vice versa). But this was beyond self-defense this was a one-sided street fight. I wanted to make myself clear with how I feel about self-defense before someone comes in the comments talking about. “Well Nikki, what if he was just defending himself? She punched him first.” You can still say that if you want but at least I gave you my personal position on the matter. With that being said I will say that if you put your hands on me once you damn well won’t get the chance to do it again because I am packing my shit and leaving. I believe I can say my husband feels the same way. Neither spouse should lay hands on the other, it is wrong all around. Apparently, Janay does not feel the same way because on March 28th, the day after being charged with third degree aggravated assault her and Rice marry. Money is a strong pull, and Ray had a lot of it.
After that I think everyone was in a state of shock because things got slightly quiet after that. I forgot to mention that after the public release of the elevator footage NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely despite his team standing behind him. On May 1, 2014 Rice pleads not guilty of aggravated assault and applies for a program that helps first time offenders, this program could have him cleared of all charges within a year. On May 21st he was accepted into the program. On May 23, 2020 the Raven’s hold a press conference with thew newlyweds and each apologize for their part in the incident.
On July 24, 2014 the NFL announced that Ray Rice will have a two-game suspension once the regular season was up and running, which Rice considered fair. On July 28th while at the Ravens training camp Ray Rice received a STANDING OVATION from fans, way to make the world proud Baltimore. Now the tape that was released before was just footage from outside the elevator, it doesn’t show what occurred on the inside. On September 8th TMZ said “hold my camera” and released the footage that was recorded inside the elevator. Just hours after the footage was released Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens. Both the league and Ravens claimed that they had not seen the footage from inside the elevator until that same day it was released. Harbaugh told reporters; “It’s something we saw for the first time today, well all of us. It changed things, of course. And it made things a little bit different.”
The only good thing to come out of this was the fact that the NFL really cracked down on how they deal with their players and domestic abuse, remember the Kareem Hunt case a few years back? That was handled right away, KC and the NFL were not playing with him. Rice appealed his suspension from the NFL and on November 28, 2014 he won his appeal and the NFL reinstated him. There was only one problem, nobody would sign him. On January 15, 2015 Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens settled outside of court after Rice sued them for what he would have earned for the remaining fifteen weeks of the season after serving his two-game suspension. In 2018, Ray Rice announced his retirement from the NFL after still failing to be signed by a team. Oh, he was black balled for sure.
We all make mistakes, they are inevitable. It is how you learn and grow throughout life. Some mistakes are bigger than others, some cost us more than others. In Ray Rice’s case it cost him everything…. except Janay…he still got Janay…
*Remember abuse is NEVER okay! If you or someone you know is being abused emotionally or physically tell someone you trust or reach out to authorities who can help!*
Ray Rice’s Wife Speaks Out – CNN
Ray & Janay Rice – CBS This Morning
Ray Rice Elevator Assault – Time