Ray Rice is Looking Better

Ray RicePlease forgive us for not spending half this post re-hashing all of the details of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. Anyone with a room temperature IQ and a sense of right and wrong understands what he did was wrong.

We don’t speculate on whether his skills qualify him for a return to football on athletic merit. We don’t know. Chuck lectures, consults and trains others on the topics of sports ethics; he doesn’t keep stats on “40 times” and production/productivity. We don’t know if Rice will ever wear a uniform again, but we do know that there are others in professional sports currently playing who apparently have not learned a damn thing from the Rice “incident.”

Greg Hardy

We might start this discussion with Greg Hardy, the DE for the Dallas Cowboys who has just come off a 4-game suspension for beating his girlfriend. He has been, by all accounts, unapologetic. So what does he do to celebrate his return to the game he loves? He starts commenting on Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bündschen. Yes, we get it. She is beautiful, and in fact, her modeling profession is based on her being beautiful. OK, but Greg, why say anything? Why not keep your thoughts to yourself? Why not get back to the field and help the Cowboys win?

We also used the word “unapologetic.” We suppose it’s the advantage of not having a video camera record you beating your girlfriend. Of course his fans will refuse to accept the fact that Greg Hardy learned nothing from Ray Rice. Of course his fans will refuse to understand why he should have kept his comments about Gisele Bündschen to himself.

Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes

Also in the past week Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes, an NBA coach and an NBA player with a somewhat ethically checkered past, got into an altercation in front of Barnes’ twin sons and 10 other people. It’s complicated, but not really. Barnes is still married to his estranged wife Gloria Govan (a reality TV star), and Fisher is still married to his estranged wife. Despite all of the estrangement, Fisher is now dating Barnes’ “ex-wife.”

Barnes claims that he decided to check on his six-year old sons at night where he used to live, and got into it (a physical altercation) with Fisher. Barnes decided to show what a concerned man he is by having a violent confrontation with a man who used to be his teammate. Let me back up just a bit; Barnes drove nearly 100 miles to his ex’s home in order to get into a fight in front of the family he is so crazy about. Oh yes, lest I forget, he spit in the face of Ms. Govan because that’s what “235 pound enforcers” do to their estranged wives. It is called domestic violence.

The Price of Bad Ethics

We are not judges or juries, not reality TV stars or even relationship counselors, but of all the names of the key players we’ve mentioned above, Ray Rice comes out looking the best — by far.

Ethically, Ray Rice is doing everything he can do to earn a second chance. His is slowly emerging into the sunlight as does anyone who understands the consequences of his or her actions and he is working hard at trying to be a better person. No one has the magic to see into the future, but if Ray Rice keeps on his path, at some point and in some way, he and his wife will succeed wherever the path takes them.

For Greg Hardy – and indeed, for his organization (Jerry Jones also needed to foolishly comment on Gisele), virtually nothing has been learned. Historians tell us that we should study the past so we don’t repeat our mistakes. It is Hardy’s right to scoff at ethics training, if he understands that his physical abilities and his most ardent fans will leave him. He cannot escape time. He cannot escape his bad ethics. His act will get old.

The same advice also applies to Matt Barnes with an extra added attraction – his two sons. He is 35 now, not 25. What he has is his legacy. That’s it. Domestic violence will not help it. Derek Fisher is a coach; if his coaching abilities start to “wobble” this season, a deciding factor in his future could be his character as a man off the court.

Ray Rice now understands where these other guys are headed. For that reason alone, he is looking better.


(Written by Bruce Wolk and Chuck Gallagher)

For More Information;

Chuck Gallagher, President, Sports Ethics LLC

(828) 244-1400




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