Chiefs’ Rashee Rice’s statement rings hollow four days after scary six-car crash

Four days after authorities say a Corvette owned by Chiefs receiver Rashee Rice and a Lamborghini leased in his name were racing on a Dallas highway and triggered a terrifying multi-vehicle accident, days after police announced they were searching for him, Rice on Wednesday finally emerged with a cryptic statement.

“Today I met with Dallas PD investigators regarding Saturday’s accident,” he said in a message posted to his Instagram account. “I take full responsibility for my part in this matter and will continue to cooperate with the necessary authorities. I sincerely apologize to everyone impacted in Saturday’s accident.”

But the statement, such as it was, reverberates only as another phase in the haze: an ongoing process of apparently evading transparency over an incident that could just as easily have killed several people instead of causing miraculously few injuries.

First of all, to Rice’s particular wording: What happened was by all appearances not an accident but a crash, a subtle but important distinction that speaks to the difference between fault and happenstance.

And coming a day after Rice’s attorney, Royce West, issued a statement saying the second-year Chief was “cooperating with local authorities and will take all necessary steps to address the situation responsibly,” Rice’s hollow words directly contradict that assertion.

What, exactly, are they addressing responsibly and taking full responsibility for?

What do those words even mean in such an abstract?

While tacitly implying that Rice indeed had at least some vague-possible-maybe connection to what unfolded, neither statement so much as even directly acknowledges whether he was part of the appalling scene.

To watch the video is be jarred by the outrageousness of a berserk disregard of everything around the drivers ... and by the most disturbing part of all.

Without so much as checking on the well-being of those in the other vehicles in the crash on Saturday, the occupants of the Corvette and Lamborghini doubled down on their fortune to be able to walk away from it … and, in fact, hurried away.

It’s one thing to drive like that.

It’s another shameful sort of statement entirely to do this:

“All ran from the crash without stopping to see if anyone needed help,” a Dallas police spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News on Sunday, “or providing any of their information.”

Absurdly enough, that cloak was virtually the same on Wednesday as it was days ago.

At least in terms of what the public knows as we wait to see how this situation plays out legally — and in terms of how the NFL might apply its personal-conduct policy to Rice in the form of a disciplinary measure after more comes to light.

In the meantime, this has gone from a bit of a mystery that figured to need a day or so to clear up to what smacks of willful obfuscation that, unless and until dispelled, reinforces the notion a star athlete could get preferential treatment.

Because right now it feels like there’s as much of a cordon around Rice as there was around the scene of the crash on Saturday.

And that’s an all-the-more disillusioning point because of the popularity and stature of Rice, who as a rookie became an integral part of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl repeat.

With that, though, comes an implied public trust. Like it or not, an NFL star is in the spotlight with his actions on and off the field and is a reflection of the Chiefs.

All of that and more is why this should matter to Chiefs fans.

While it’s true that much remains unknown about the incident, it’s also clear by now that this is because those involved don’t want you to know it. That’s both why I waited this long to offer commentary, and why this turn on Wednesday compelled me to do so now.

It’s understood that Rice can’t, and maybe even shouldn’t, plead guilty with some public confession even if he was one of the drivers — or if he allowed someone else to drive the Lamborghini in violation of the lease agreement.

But if he wasn’t there, against all logic and some photographic appearances that he was, then it’s past time to say so.

If he was, whether as a passenger or driver — or whether he let someone else use the car he had leased — then it’s time to at least acknowledge that, if West and Rice want to make good on their words.

When West, who also is a Texas state attorney, issued his statement about Rice the other day, it included a postscript that any requests for comment could be directed to him.

The Star has tried just that multiple times, most recently on Wednesday afternoon after his client’s statement was posted.

Nothing back yet.

But we’d sure like to ask him to clarify whether Rice was there and if he was driving one of the cars. If so to either, how did Rice explain why he left the scene?

And when did Rice first respond to the police publicly stating they were searching for him? And just what does it mean to say he is cooperating?

And then some.

There are any number of reasons why West and Rice may choose not to answer anything.

But if they’re serious about taking “full responsibility for (Rice’s) part” and addressing the situation responsibly, they should acknowledge what Rice’s part actually was — not remain distanced from the scene behind smoke and mirrors and legalese and empty words.