As Kareem Hunt’s assault video rippled through the NFL in recent weeks, one name has continued to surface: Ray Rice.
Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens running back who was filmed abusing his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City elevator in 2014, hasn’t played since the Ravens released him after the tape surfaced. In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Rice and his now-wife Janay sat down to reflect on what’s happened to them in the past four years, and how Rice might use his own experience to help others.
Rice sought refuge in football
Rice said he had been dealing with personal problems for years before striking Janay, and that he avoided dealing with them by focusing on the field.
“One of the underlying issues for me was — I never wanted to ask for help,” Rice said. “Football, for me, was my counseling. It was my therapy. It was my psychologist. It was my everything.”
Rice piled up accolades, from All-American in college to Super Bowl champion as a pro, but as he said in the interview, the price football extracted from him wasn’t worth it.
“I hate that person,” Rice said of himself in 2014. “I hate him.”
Kareem Hunt’s similarities
Rice agreed to the interview after Hunt’s release; Hunt was filmed involved in an assault, like Rice, and was cut loose immediately after the film’s release, also like Rice.
“Well, obviously, you know, you look back and you see the similarities,” Rice said of the two incidents. “Early on you could feel like, ‘Why they keep bringing my name up?’ You can make excuses or you can actually do the hard work.”
The difference between the two men, from an NFL perspective, is that while Rice was 31 and on the downside of his career, Hunt is in his second year and, from only a football perspective, still a viable commodity. The question for Hunt is whether common decency will trump football expediency.
“I know Kareem has apologized, and has expressed remorse for the survivors of domestic violence,” Rice said. “I’ll continue to do that, because I know now from doing the work, how gruesome it is.”
Rice: Done with football
Not that it’s any real surprise, but Rice announced that he was through with football as a player.
“I’ll be the first one to say it. I don’t have to retire to tell you, I’m done with football,” he said. “Because I’ll be honest with you, it — and it’s not the game of football. I love football. I’m coaching. I’m helping out youth. I just feel like the pressure I was under of being a — like, a star, that was the person I hated the most. So I don’t want to go back to being something that, just because it financially took care of me, tormented my life. I want to be in a position now to help.”
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