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Ray Rice says he wants to use his own experience to help Kareem Hunt

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With domestic violence at the forefront of NFL news for the past week, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has spoken up. Rice, whose NFL career ended in 2014 after he was caught on video punching his now-wife in the face in an elevator, gave an interview to NFL.com about what he would say to Kareem Hunt. Hunt was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday after a video surfaced that showed him shoving and kicking a 19-year-old woman at a Cleveland hotel earlier this year.

Ray Rice’s advice for Kareem Hunt

Rice spoke at length to NFL.com, and he used his experience to relate to Hunt. He admitted that he’s not an expert, but that he would encourage Hunt to focus on the split-second decisions that could change everything. And if he had a chance to talk to him in person, he would want to talk to Hunt about what in his life had gotten him to that point.

“Peer-to-peer, I would definitely try to help him figure out, ‘How can we start dealing with the underlying problems in your life?'” Rice said. “Because he has a long life to live, this will be a defining moment, but it shouldn’t be the moment that defines you. For me, I just see you have a long life to live and that doesn’t mean just playing football — you need to just live one day at a time.”

Rice has done a lot of soul searching since the 2014 incident. He told NFL.com that whatever got Hunt to that moment on camera likely started long, long before — just as it had with him.

“I am not blaming anyone who was with him, but I wish someone that was with him, if he’s not in his right mind … would’ve said to him, ‘Look at the situation. Is it worth risking it all for a split-second decision — for something you know you can get out of?'”

“And I say that to myself. I just look at the situation and say, ‘Your life wasn’t being threatened.’ So, if there was just words, you can back out of that situation — so somewhere there’s got to [show] some strength to deal with that properly. It is hard to practice what to do in the most intense moments and about making those split-second decisions. I have taken a deeper look at my own life — and I think what was his upbringing like? That’s just how I look at it. I know my upbringing wasn’t perfect. And I know that’s where I masked a lot of my problems.”

Ray Rice hopes his experience can help Kareem Hunt and others in the NFL. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Ray Rice hopes his experience can help Kareem Hunt and others in the NFL. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Rice’s hopes for his future

Rice never played in the NFL again after the video was released in 2014. Since then, he told NFL.com that he’s tried to use what he learned from that situation to help others. He’s worked with A Call To Men, which seeks to educate men all over the world about healthy, respectful manhood, and the Childhood Domestic Violence Association, which helps people who experienced or witnessed domestic violence as a child.

Rice also hopes to apply what he’s learned to helping players in the NFL. He’s already spoken to college football teams at Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia, and has branched out a little into the NFL — he’s even spoken to his old team, the Baltimore Ravens. He wants to do more.

“For me, it’s like, you got to put in the work and you got to get a real response and make a connection,” Rice said. “I see teams are hiring sports psychologists — and I don’t have a formal degree for this — but after my experiences, 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. I have bounced my life story off players at different levels over the years. I try to share things and make my experience relatable.”

Rice also said that he believes that balance is more important than people realize — that a player’s life should be about more than football. He pointed to Anquan Boldin as an example of a player who balanced football and family. Rice hopes he can serve as an example in his post-playing years, and “continue in a way where I can best help the most people.”

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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