Would you hire Ray Rice for Your Football Team?

As I was about to start this blog, another story caught my eye that somehow won’t escape my attention: Amanda Knox, the American woman who Italy wants to bring back to stand re-trial for murder, is now writing articles on the Northwest cultural scene for an online publication. The publication’s position is that Amanda is a really great writer and her notoriety has nothing to do with the fact that she’s writing about the cultural scene. To which I say, that I will estimate that within a 50 mile radius of where Knox lives there are about 500 talented writers who are not fighting murder charges who could also use a job.

Ray Rice Leaves HearingThen I am reminded of Anthony Weiner, the congressman who was caught in two sexting scandals, who resigned congress in shame, and then had the audacity to run for mayor of New York City. The good people of New York weighed the pros and cons of the former congressman and his texted genitals as representing the Big Apple and they said “No.” Still, they gave him a chance. My point is that America is a land of second chances.

However, it may just be that some chances are better or more politically correct than others.

We have no video of Knox committing murder – and Weiner is a joke. Then again, we have no video of Incognito taunting Martin by using racial slurs or Michael Vick killing dogs and fighting dogs.

Indefinite suspension

Richie Incognito has been reinstated by the NFL; no one has given him a shot. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but he’s bounced around for a while and maybe his time has passed. Michael Vick, after serving prison time, is once again a starting QB, albeit it for another team. The nation’s dog lovers don’t seem to much care. Amanda Knox is merrily writing in the Northwest. Weiner is irrelevant except for his comedy relief but who knows what the next few years may bring?

What Ray Rice did was horrible. No one is denying that. He is appealing his indefinite suspension. The NFL seems content in saying just about nothing. They cling to their personal conduct policy as though anyone truly believes they understand ethics and accountability.

However, Rice managed to embarrass the NFL and Goodell as much as he shamed himself and that bothers them to no end. Insiders seem to believe that if he is reinstated, he has a shot at returning; maybe not this year, but next. The question is, who would hire him?

Even before the “Rice in the elevator incident,” his skills were declining. His coaches were warning him. His supporters, and he has some, feel his production was off because he gained too much mass. His supporters feel that he could come back with a vengeance.

If Ray Rice is reinstated, he probably won’t see a football field this year, but 2015 may tell a different story.

Suppose in the off-season he continues to undergo intensive counseling and community service? Suppose he reaches out to women’s groups and domestic violence hotlines and becomes a spokesperson? Suppose he has a genuine breakthrough, is that enough? If it isn’t, was is enough for society?

Understanding our ethical standards

Second chances should be considered when a person has rehabilitated himself or herself. I am not applying the screen of “declining skills” because that is a football decision. I am also not talking about crimes such as murder. I am looking at this ethically.

IF we are willing to give people second chances, such as Adrian Peterson who was just been reinstated or Lindsay Lohan who has engaged in a great deal of unethical behavior over the years, how do we as a society arrive at a standard for Ray Rice?

I must repeat, no one, especially me, is giving Ray Rice a pass. He needs serious long-term help; ethical, moral, psychological.

I just want to know what would ultimately make society happy? I am guessing about 10 football teams right about now, are also waiting for society’s answer.





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